This post is reposted from its original location: http://bit.ly/LLSustSthlndBlog1
This is the first of several blog posts for SSBN by Love Local, an Invercargill-based, not-for-profit ‘social enterprise’, set up to address fresh food affordability and sustainability.
Love Local was born out of a group of friends wondering what we could contribute to our local community. We’re concerned about social justice issues, such as affordable access to our basic needs – air, water, food, shelter, heat and community. The idea of a food project was put forward, and it seemed to fill a need locally. We quickly learned that we are part of a wider movement of communities all over the world working to wrestle back control of their food supply.
An interesting challenge we faced early on was deciding what legal structure to adopt. Company, charitable company, charitable trust? We learned that New Zealand law does not provide a huge amount of flexibility for those wanting to establish an organisation for which profit is not the highest priority.
Yet the almost universal legal interpretation of ‘not-for-profit’ allows for much more than charity. As an entity formed to fulfil a social purpose, a not-for-profit can make as much profit as it is able or would like, as long as this profit is used according to the organization’s stated goals, rather than being distributed to individuals in a private capacity.
We decided early on that Love Local should be a ‘not for profit’ enterprise. For a start, our founders volunteer their time, and have other sources of income. Love Local is our way of giving back to the community. Secondly, in our view the conventional growth-based, profit maximisation mentality, facilitated by interest bearing loans (the source of 97% of money in the modern economy), is a key driving force behind unsustainable business practices.
After much thought, we chose to set up as a charitable trust. The trust deed outlines our charitable objectives, and this helps us to set priorities and maintain focus. However, we’ve decided not to rely on loans or grants for our financial sustainability. Our aim is to be self-funding through our commercial activity (with some donations to get us going).
We sell great value bags of fruit and vegetables to the general public, and profits from this commercial activity are used by Love Local to fund the provision of a below cost fruit and vegetables accessed by Community Services Card holders via distribution points across the city. We support dozens of families a week through this side of our organisation.
In addition to supporting local families, we also aim to support local growers of fruit and vegetables. We aim to source as much of our produce as we can from Southland and Otago growers – thereby cutting down food miles and providing an alternative route-to-market for small and medium size growers who find access to consumers difficult.
You can support our ‘not for profit’ social enterprise through the purchase of great value fruit and vegetable bags, delivered free to your home or business (within Invercargill). Orders can be set up weekly, fortnightly, monthly or one-off and we supply four different options. One option is a fruit bag which is perfect for the staff / smoko room.
For more information including what’s in a typical bag, and to set up an order, visit our website at www.lovelocal.org.nz.
We need the support of the Invercargill community in order for Love Local to succeed. Primarily, we need people to buy our bags, and communicate to us how we’re doing. We’re also looking for volunteers to help us grow orders through promoting us in their workplace or social group.
We’re posting links to various inspirational resources on our Facebook page at in the hope that this will inspire others to either get involved with us or start a complementary business themselves. If you found this article helpful, come and join us there for more links, and help us have a conversation about building resilient communities in Southland. In future blog posts for SSBN, we’ll explore some of the issues we’ve skimmed over above in more detail.
Contact info: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 928 5073