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ED FACE Rebel Farmer

19th September 2023

Rebel Farmer are one of the 120 businesses signed up to the Boost Your Business programme

What a week in the ambitions of Rebel Farmer. The transitional movement that is materialising for food and farming in the southeast is looking ever more tangible and is leaving me with a lot to be excited about.

Starting last Tuesday with an encouraging meeting of Kent Food Hubs CIC. On Thursday I organised A ‘Destination Brook’ regenerative farming support team meet-up. And finally on Sunday the ‘Kent School of Food’ meeting was very promising so I am buzzing with excitement. This all follows up from meetings with the Kent Food Partnership and Sustainable Futures Folkestone over the last few weeks with lots of encouraging conversations happening everyday. I now have a real picture and understanding of the incredible ambitions of dedicated individuals and business within the area. We are heading towards the inaugural Kent Food Summit in less than a month and I feel I might need to share some of this burgeoning story.

The Kent Food Hubs CIC is hoping to come under the umbrella of Produced in Kent. The CIC is looking towards providing an ethical and ecological distribution system to its members that is extremely efficient using an electric vehicle and the software known as OOOBY. We talked about an East Kent wholesale hub to sit alongside the current system and massively improve the sales for a lot of our amazing producers. We are hoping to create hubs across the East Kent region in Canterbury, Faversham and maybe even as far as Margate. A local packing and distribution in Ashford would also be a huge help.

As a producer and distributor using the hubs over the last few years I have a unique position to see the problems that exist and look at ways of providing solutions using this new system. Currently my distribution takes me away from the day-to-day management of Rebel Farmer at least one day a week and costs me in fuel and time. The hope is that this new system would remove these problems long term and provide a more ethical, ecological and efficient way of distributing my produce as well as those of other producers. This clever software creates a worksheet for each order cycle with labels distribution route and lots of control. It would also create an easy to use subscription model that is currently missing from the current Open Food Network software. I do currently I get a lot of my sales from face to face interaction with chefs and the retail clients as I go about my distribution so we'd have to look at how we continue this interaction especially if we look to employ a driver. In the short term the distributor would be myself to deal with software support, sales and direct marketing. The system would provide me with an income to distribute by taking the cost of distribution off the current producer distribution cost with the added incentive of being able to market the produce as having a “low carbon” footprint and across the larger membership of ‘Produced in Kent’. The new software will help with the marketing of the produce but, long term we would need a strong marketing director to really push the new and seasonal products that come out each week communicating with all the producers and pushing their new products.

Each hub would need a dedicated packing space and hopefully charge point to help with this low carbon distribution. The Sustainable Futures Forum in Folkestone earlier this year has given the Kent Food Hubs along with Rebel Farmer access to the funds necessary to purchase an electric vehicle and we are looking at charge points in the hometown of Folkestone to start with working alongside the Folkestone and Hythe District Council sustainability department. A conversation that will be repeated across local authority. A sign written van is now just weeks away giving a much needed boost to a brilliant local service.

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Rebel Farmer

Rebel Farmer promotes and produces local seasonal food, ethically grown on a smaller scale.