Become a FoodFriend
FoodFriends is a dedicated fundraising scheme run by LESS to support the development of regenerative local food projects and the training of new small-scale farmers. Almost all agriculture in the UK is supported by subsidies. However, for farming operations under 5 hectares there is not government support available. In addition, it’s generally difficult to get grant funding for new enterprises, so the FoodFriends scheme was set up to fill this gap.
The proceeds from the scheme currently go directly to supporting the Plot, which is a new market garden with two sites in North Lancashire. The Plot is a pioneer project which supplies the local economy with organically grown produce (as part of a wider vision to have a ring of producers around the district again) and is a training and education centre for new entrant farmers.
The Plot aims to build capacity for locally grown food by developing the skills needed and by facilitating partnerships and trialling new models for distribution.
By making a regular donation of £5 per month or £60 per year you are supporting the Plot in these early years, and you are supporting bursaries to enable people to undertake the FarmStart training who would otherwise be unable to.
All FoodFriends are eligible for monthly draws for six prizes to win Local Food Vouchers which can be spent with our partner organisations.
The Covid-19 outbreak brought the need for local, resilient food economies into sharper focus. This is your opportunity to support local projects to increase the amount of food grown locally by small-scale sustainable farming methods rooted within communities, and help bring food-resilience to our district.
What is FoodFriends?
FoodFriends is a registered small society lottery also known as a 500 club. It is a fundraising scheme which provides monthly prizes to members.
The purpose of FoodFriends is to raise funds to help train and enable new small-scale farmers in the Lancaster District, to support the development of regenerative local food projects and to support local distribution of local food.
As well as being in a monthly draw for prizes, members will receive regular updates, information and opportunities to get engaged in the projects that FoodFriends funds. Members of the scheme will also receive an annual report with a summary of project progress.
What projects are FoodFriends supporting?
What projects are FoodFriends supporting? FoodFriends have supported the set up and development of two sites in North Lancashire called The Plot – an outdoor growing site (2 acres) on an existing organic farm and an indoor growing site (2 large polytunnels which are made available to the Plot by the Council).
Both sites form the FarmStart training centre and since January 2021 the Plot has been training an annual cohort of FarmStarters. You can read their stories here. The sites also grow organic produce which is available to buy locally.
Our FarmStarters will take part in comprehensive, hands-on training in how to grow a market garden and set up small-scale food enterprises as part of a wider strategy to grow a resilient local food economy.
There is more background about the Plot here: www.the-plot.uk
Our latest annual report for the FoodFriends scheme is here.
How does FoodFriends Work?
You sign up by direct debit via GoCardless to buy a FoodFriends Member Number and pay Monthly or Annually
Each Member Number is for £5 per month.
You can buy as many Member Numbers as you want.
You can also buy a Member Numbers for a year as a gift for someone else.
Once you sign up via GoCardless, your Member Number(s) will be allocated and sent via email.
You must be over 16 to participate.
A random draw will be made every month with a minimum of 6 Local Food Vouchers worth £30 each to be spent with one of our Food Partners.
If you win a voucher, you choose which Food Partner to redeem it with.
Additional prizes will also be available from time to time and as the membership grows.
The funding raised through FoodFriends is used to support the development of regenerative local food projects and the training of new small-scale farmers.
What prizes can I win?
Monthly winners of the draw will get a £30 Local Food Voucher. If you win, you will be contacted by email to choose one of our Food Partners with which to spend your voucher. Your voucher will be valid for 6 months to spend at the Food Partner organisation that you choose.
Should there be additional prizes available, additional draws will take place to allocate winning numbers.
Our partner organisations all share a commitment to developing a fair and ethical local food economy.
Our current partners include:
A workers cooperative based in Lancaster that sells wholefoods, fruit and vegetables, pulses, grains, flour, spices, fresh products, toiletries, snacks and other gifts and products.Single Step is a not-for-profit organisation committed to healthy, environmentally friendly, local and fair trade products. They are a vegan business.FoodFriends Food Voucher winners can choose from a basket of ethical, organic food for a weekly shop, fair-trade wines or chocolate, or other treats such as Zaytoun medjool dates from Palestine.
A six-acre community farm on the edge of Lancaster. A number of community projects operate from the shared site, including Spud Club (a community food growing project), a tree nursery, the giving beds (food growing for Egg Cup) and the John Muir nature conservation trail.FoodFriends Food Voucher winners will get a seasonal hamper which will include a selection (depending on the time of year) of vegetables grown in the no-dig beds, salad bags, fresh cut herbs, chutneys, jams, fresh cut flowers, kimchi, cider, dried teas and herbs, marigold oil and a calendar/postcards.
The Quarterhouse is an independent, chef-owned kitchen and bar. Based in Lancaster’s cultural Canal Quarter in the heart of the north-west, they are blessed with some of the UK’s best local produce, a heritage they both reflect and celebrate in their seasonal menus. They even buy produce from our FarmStart location The Plot! When you win a £30 voucher with The Quarterhouse you can use the discount code provided to book for brunch, lunch or a delicious dinner. They are excited to welcome you!
The Fig Tree
A specialist fair-trade chocolatier based in Garstang. Using cocoa beans from New Koforidua in Ghana, Africa’s first Fair-Trade town, the beans to bar chocolate is available in a bespoke hamper for prize-winners. Bars include milk, vegan and dark chocolate, flavoured with mint, raspberry and orange. There is also a range of handmade individual chocolates.FoodFriends Food Voucher winners will be able to customise their chocolate hamper to suit their preferences. A vegan option is available.
The Rewilding is a place of experimentation, a meeting point for the conscious to gather and connect. The Rewilding host retreats, events and experiences as well as its own program of events and retreats with a focus on human rewilding and nature connection. When you win a £30 voucher with The Rewilding community you can use the discount code provided to book onto any of the Food Events and Supper Clubs they are hosting. They are excited to welcome you!
The UK’s longest established producer of high quality goat meat. All our meat is born and reared on our own farm meaning we can guarantee the quality of the meat, the welfare standards we work to and our levels of wildlife friendly and environmentally sound farming.Based in Cockerham, goat meat can be bought directly from the farm or from occasional markets in Lancaster and Preston. Local deliveries are offered from £5 for those that can’t visit the farm.FoodFriends Vouchers can be used against any purchase of goat meat, from an individual pack of chops, mince or sausage up to a full joint or a pack of goat meat.
The Cereal Box based in King’s Arcade, Lancaster is small but absolutely packed with flavour! Here they toast and roast small batch artisan granolas, mueslis and bakes. They make small batches, because they believe in artisan products, small batches for freshness and the best possible taste.
They only use sustainable packaging and they love it most of all if you bring your own reusable containers for their products. If you forget though or want to buy as a gift they have their own pre-packaged products too….all compostable or recyclable. When you win a £30 voucher with The Cereal Box you can use the voucher provided to purchase any of their delicious goods. They are excited to welcome you!
Filberts Bakery is an award winning artisan Bakery in the heart of Lancaster City. They make a beautiful range of sourdough bread and believe in proper bread, using the highest quality grain, with no additives or preservatives. When you win a £30 voucher with Filberts Bakery can use the FoodFriend voucher provided to buy lots of yummy baked goods! Redeem with us and stock up on the loveliest artisan bakes. Vouchers can be broken into bitesize £10s too!
Multi-award winning Goosnargh Gin is lovingly crafted by Richard and Rachel Trenchard, at their distillery based at the foot of Beacon Fell. Being situated on the edge of the Forest of Bowland AONB, in the parish of Goosnargh, Lancashire they are surrounded by the inspiration for their gins, from the botanicals, to the spectacular geography and rich heritage of the area. Goosnargh Gin is distilled in small batches by hand by Richard and Rachel, using copper pot still. They develop all their own recipes in-house and insist on using the highest quality botanicals which are either foraged, expertly grown or ethically and sustainably sourced from top quality organic suppliers. When you win a £30 voucher with Goosnargh Gin you can use the food and drink voucher provided to buy a delicious bottle of locally made gin!