Based in Glasgow, Locavore aims to build a more sustainable local food system, “better for the local economy, the environment and the surrounding communities”.
Since opening in 2011, the social enterprise has opened three stores in Scotland’s largest city, developed market gardens, implemented a vegetable box program and brought attention to food-related issues. , its provenance and the equity and sustainability of traditional supply chains.
The £ 850,000 funding program includes a mix of loans and grants from responsible provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS), and comes as Locavore seeks to capitalize on increased demand for local, organic and zero waste food and goods .
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In a typical month, the social enterprise serves 15,000 customers in its stores and delivers 7,000 boxes of vegetables to central Scotland. It has a turnover of around £ 4.3million and now has almost 90 employees.
Its objective is to build a network of ten stores over the next two years, to increase its delivery capacity by 22,500 cases of vegetables per month and to build the necessary infrastructures “in an efficient and sustainable manner, with the commitment of become a company with a negative carbon footprint ”. . This would see the organization increase its workforce to 180 and its turnover to around £ 10million.
Locavore intends to acquire a new warehouse site which will serve as a regional distribution hub and increase its capacity to deliver boxes of vegetables to central Scotland, while purchasing and setting up a new organic market garden.
Locavore has grown from nearly 1,500 packages per week at the start of March 2020 to nearly 2,000 at the end of the same month. Currently operating at full capacity, it has a waiting list of over 1,000 people.
Managing Director Reuben Chesters said: “This latest investment from SIS will help Locavore realize its ambitions to become a leader on many new fronts, putting us in a position from which we can easily grow further and faster than ever. previously.
“In Scotland we will be one of the largest retailers, wholesalers and vegetable box systems of our kind with an important position to play in the development of the organic market. We will also be a role model for doing business well, a social enterprise leader and a bigger and more influential voice calling for a fairer and more sustainable society.
Alastair Davis, Managing Director of SIS, praised the organization for continuing to support Locavore, which he described as “a real achievement and proof of how a social business can be run successfully while being ethical. and providing high levels of social impact ”.
He added: “With its ambitious growth plan, Locavore will open up new markets beyond Glasgow and take its growth journey to the next level. “
SIS was established in 2001 and has since invested over £ 100million in loans to help community businesses and social enterprises. Over the past year, it has provided more than 800 support interventions to individuals and organizations in the third sector, supporting responsible lenders in Scotland through the £ 15million Scottish Community Lenders Fund.