MORE and more people in Carmarthen are ditching the supermarket trolley and buying fresh food directly from local producers.

The Carmarthen Food Assembly – an online platform that allows a direct link between customers and producers – continues to grow from strength to strength, helping people have more control about what ends up on their plates whilst supporting local businesses.

This week the assembly celebrated its first anniversary, and now boasts 700 customers and 20 producers, with fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and baked goods sold and collected weekly.

Customers order their goods through an online platform, giving producers special requests if required, before picking it up on collection day at Carmarthen’s Xcel in Johnstown, or The Warren in Mansel Street.

As well as supporting the local economy the assembly also has health and environmental benefits – customers can find out exactly what has gone in to their food, and carbon footprint is also reduced with food travelling an average distance of 28 miles to the pick-up point compared to around 600 miles to a supermarket.

It also reduces waste as nothing gets picked or baked unless it is ordered.

Organiser Carrie Laxton is a retired GP who saw the benefits of a food assembly and decided to set one up in Carmarthen, with the support of Carmarthenshire County Council.

“Local producers are struggling to make a living, and this is an ideal way of supporting them,” she said.

“We have anywhere between 12 and 18 producers most weeks who set up a mini market at our collection points to meet their customers and hand over the pre-ordered goods. It makes good local food more accessible to local people as well as supporting local producers.”

Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for rural affairs, said: “This is a fantastic way to support the local economy and local producers. Rural industries continue to struggle but as consumers become more conscious of what they eat we hope that they will return back to the more traditional shopping route which is to buy from local farmers, bakers and butchers.

“The food assembly helps link customers and producers and bringing in the modern element of online orders it is working well for a growing number of people.”

Anyone can register to become a customer of the food assembly, and food producers in around the Carmarthen area are encouraged to find out how they can become involved.

Find information at www.foodassembly.com

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