FarmDrop: A new way of buying local food

We caught up with Sophie Barber, organiser of the soon-to-be-launched FarmDrop Hove initiative, a new local shopping experience.



This week, we caught up with Sophie Barber, organiser of the soon-to-be-launched FarmDrop Hove initiative, a new local shopping experience coming to The Brunswick public house.

Tell us about FarmDrop

FarmDrop is a national initiative, helping communities buy local food together. It helps independent producers get a better deal and gives consumers access to great local produce in a convenient way and at a reasonable price.

farmdrop_logo_v3We all want better transparency about where our food comes from and the less distance it has travelled, the fresher it is - not to mention that is better for the environment.

Producers get 80% of the profit under FarmDrop, which is more than twice that which they would get through a supermarket. So it is fresh and fair.

The Brunswick will be the home of Hove FarmDrop and I am the "keeper",  which involves running the online community, selecting producers, and hosting the "drop",  with the first collection starting on Saturday, July 12 (online shop opens for purchasing on July 2; collections will run every Saturday, from 10am to noon).

We have a great selection of producers, including: Station Farm (South Downs tenant farmer) for beef, pork and lamb, offering a large range of cuts; Barcombe Nurseries will be supplying fruit, vegetables, and salad; Nanny Sues for eggs; and the Sussex Bread Company and Mr Bake for cakes and sweet treats.

I will also be developing the local beer, cider and wine offering to take advantage of the great range of drink-producers in Sussex.

How is FarmDrop different to other veg/organic meat companies?

FarmDrop is the first click-and-collect online farmers' market in the United Kingdom. It is also a community-led initiative, so local people are driving FarmDrop and a more sustainable local food system by purchasing together as a group, voting with their feet, and challenging the dominant and powerful supermarket food buying model.

Why is FarmDrop important to the local community?

FarmDrop provides a direct link between local producers and members of the community. Not only do members gain access to an affordable, fantastic range of local, seasonal produce with transparency of provenance, but also - by coming together with group-buying power - they are supporting their local producers and thereby contributing to the local economy and a more sustainable food system within the city.

How important is local, seasonal and organic produce to FarmDrop?

It is at the forefront of our ethos and what we are all about.  We work on a 50-mile radius in terms of what is considered local and, while not all produce will be organic, we have strict guidelines around animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.

How can people be involved in FarmDrop?

You can become a member by registering at You will be asked for your postcode and your nearest drop will then be displayed for you to join. Sussex currently has three drops open: Hove, Brighton, and Worthing. Once you have registered, you become part of the online community. The online shop opens each week at the same time, you can then browse and select the produce you want, make a payment online and then collect it on a Saturday morning at The Brunswick.