FLINT (Food Links Network)
To establish and support community food co-ops through giving advice and training, supplying equipment and using the bulk-buy purchasing scheme.
What does FLINT do?
FLINT is the name for the Food Links Network in Bradford; it helps local communities to bulk-buy fresh fruit and vegetables and sell them in a food co-op.
FLINT provides support, advice, resources and training for anyone wanting to start a food co-op in their area
FLINT promotes awareness of healthy eating by delivering:
- Cook and Eat courses
- Health and Nutrition sessions using the Eatwell plate
- Weight Management sessions
- Support at Community events
- Promotion of 5-a-Day
About Food Co-ops
food co-op is just like a shop; it can be set up in any place locally where there is an identified need, and it is open to everyone.
It aims to help people save money and eat more healthily.
The Food Links Network (FLINT) works with community groups helping them to set up local food co-ops as not-for-profit groups run by local volunteers.
FLINT helps new food co-ops by supporting volunteers with advice and training, and offers a free loan scheme to supply basic equipment to get started including shopping baskets, display baskets, weighing scales, a till and refrigeration.
Established food co-ops continue to benefit from FLINT’s ongoing support and training.
FLINT set up a bulk-buying scheme in 2004 so fresh fruit and vegetables can be bought in bulk from the wholesaler and delivered by FLINT to the food
co-op by their low-cost van delivery service.
The food co-op then sells the fresh fruit and vegetables to the local community at low cost.
Food co-ops have been in Bradford for at least 14 years, and there are currently 10 food co-ops across the district supported by FLINT.
Most food co-ops are in local places and are easy to get to, for example a community centre, children’s centre or church hall.
They are usually open one day a week, but some open more often, check the links for locations and opening times.
All our food co-ops accept Healthy Start Vouchers.
A food co-op is a great place for anyone to go and buy fresh fruit and vegetables more cheaply.
Benefits of Food Co-ops
There are many benefits to be had from food co-ops for example:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables are available locally at low cost
- Food co-ops can help to show people how to eat a more healthy diet through demonstrations and recipe cards
- Volunteers often gain confidence and self-esteem through helping to run a valued community service
- Making friends and meeting new people can improve people's well-being
- It involves local volunteers in their community which may lead to them doing other things in the future
- Food co-ops can provide a sociable place to shop where people can meet and make friends
- People can easily pass on their knowledge of foods and cooking
- Having a food co-op can sometimes lead to other facilities being offered in the area
- Many food co-ops provide a service to older people in the area who can’t easily buy small amounts of fresh food
Economic and Environmental benefits:
- People can spend their money locally and help to support local food producers
- Volunteers working in the food co-op get opportunities to learn new skills and get experience and training which could help them move on to paid employment
- With reduced packaging there is less waste going to landfill
- Using local venues make it easier for people to cycle or walk to their food co-op
- By using local produce the food co-op can help to reduce the food miles of the produce they sell
If you are interested in starting a food co-op in your area contact: