New drive-through service launched in Chichester for locally-produced food

The newly-relaunched Slow Food Sussex is starting up a central Chichester food collection service to help local producers weather the coronavirus storm – and also to bring proper locally-sourced quality food to consumers.

Emma Schwarz (left) and Yvonne Thomson
Emma Schwarz (left) and Yvonne Thomson

Organiser Emma Schwarz, of the Rare Brand Market, is hoping that shopping locally might prove a silver lining from the coronavirus lockdown.

“I would love you all to shop for locally sourced rare (ie not mass produced through a supermarket) food during this crisis and maybe a bit less at the supermarket!

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“So with the support of the landlord at The Barn, Little London, we have decided to launch a new rare way to shop for your food and then collect it via a drive-through food service in the centre of Chichester.

“We will take orders from you on Monday and Thursday mornings between 9am and 12pm and then if you ordered on a Monday you can collect Wednesday morning from Little London in Chichester city centre or if you ordered Thursday you can collect Saturday morning.

“All you have to do first is browse our e-brochure featuring the produce of wonderfully rare local suppliers. Second step is you then email Mary in our office for a totally personal service. She will provide you with all the instructions and a leaflet about why this is a brilliant alternative to the supermarket and how this method of local shopping more than adheres to COVID guidelines.

“The Barn, Little London, PO19 1PL, is right in the centre of Chichester down a quiet road, opposite the M&S Food East Street car park entrance. You can pull up in your car and we can literally put the shopping in your car boot as you drive through.

“At this time, this will be a not-for profit operation and a ten per cent handling charge will go on your bill but it will be donated directly to local Food Waste Charity UK Harvest, (http://www.ukharvest.org.uk), who are doing a sterling job locally getting food to the vulnerable.”

Full instructions are available on http://www.therarebrandmarket.co.uk.

Emma is the new chairman of Slow Food Sussex, a position she is sharing with Yvonne Thomson, of UKHarvest – and the whole initiative builds on the Slow Food movement.

As Emma explains, Slow Food is a global, grassroots food movement with thousands of members around the world in more than 150 countries. It links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

The movement was founded in 1989 in Italy by Carlo Petrini as a response to the first McDonald’s opening in Rome.

Slow Food in the UK is part of the global Slow Food movement and actively campaigns for a better food system for all. Slow Food works to raise awareness about the sustainability and social justice issues surrounding the food we eat.

“It is about trying to get people to appreciate what they are putting in their meals, the type of food, the quality of the food and also separating local food that is sustainable, food that is good for your health and also good for the local environment.

“It is also about cooking in the traditional ways which can be slow cooking, but it is more to do with making people appreciate the fact that when they sit down to eat, it is not just about the eating, but the whole thing of sitting down together, that food is something to be given time and something to be savoured.

“I came across the Slow Food movement in the late 90s. In 97, I went to a restaurant in London that was a Slow Food nominated restaurant, and I have kept it in mind ever since.”

Emma has now taken on the chairmanship of Slow Food Sussex: “And I asked Yvonne to join me.”

Yvonne is the founder of UKHarvest, a charity which collects quality surplus food from a variety of retailers/ producers and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to other charities that can make use of it to support those in need. It provides much-needed assistance to vulnerable men, women and children across the UK.

“And so we decided to have a relaunch for Slow Food Sussex earlier this year. We invited farm shop owners and food producers and farmers, and we had a few environmental people and bloggers and various different people from the food industry.

“And we used the chance to brainstorm what should be our priority, what has gone wrong with the way we eat food, why we turn to supermarkets, why we turn to processed foods. And the reasons are pressures of time and money and convenience.

“Sussex has an abundance of farm shops, and we decided we wanted to put them much more on the map.”

And then the lockdown came, which set Emma thinking: “I wanted to make a contribution. I started thinking we should try to have a drive-through in central Chichester where we could have organic meat and cheese and eggs, and dried food and wine and chocolate, a whole host of stuff that you would have to go to a lot of different local producers to get – but to have them all in one place.”

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