riverford goes more local

I had no idea what I was getting into when harvesting my first vegetables onto a wheelbarrow in 1986 or even when delivering the first boxes from a beaten up transit in 1993. Though I am very proud that so many people across the country now enjoy our boxes and that our co-op members have a secure market for their produce, I never wanted to run a huge company and remain sceptical of the ongoing benefits of scale. With that in mind, in 2001 we hatched the plan of using what we have learnt at Riverford to set up a number of regional sister box schemes, working with local growers and delivering within an average of fifty miles.

It took a while to find like-minded growers to work with, but River Nene, on the edge of the Fens, was eventually launched in 2005. Encouraged by its success, River Swale followed in early 2007 in partnership with a group of family farms near Northallerton in Yorkshire. A fourth sister will be borne in Hampshire this July, again working with a group of local growers, centred around the Janaway