A community owned grocery store in the Colne Valley is moving steadily closer to its goal of becoming 100% local.

Just over six months after launching its ambitious goal of selling only products made and sourced from the Colne Valley, The Green Valley Grocer in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, has upped its locally sourced product mix to 35%, driven by large local bread, cheese and milk producers, as well as goods grown in local gardens and allotments.

Store manager Carol Wood believes that this figure will hit 50% by the spring of 2015 as more small producers come on board.

The store defines ‘locally made’ as goods which come from within a 30-mile radius. “These are very ambitious targets and may not be practical, but we want to strive towards them and measure our progress each year,” she said. “We also want to have 20% of the total classified as ‘super local’, which would come from within five miles of Slaithwaite. Having a strong local food offer is at the heart of our viability.”

A key challenge would be encouraging shoppers to buy locally all year round, and not just when certain products were in season, she added.
“Changing their buying habits will make our increasing reliance on locally available foods more practical.”

Recipe cards and blogs on the store’s website will play a key role in achieving their goal, as will local food festivals, two of which were held with success last year.

The store also plans to launch its own local food brand, ‘Colne U Copia’, later on this summer. Carol hopes the launch will generate some valuable local press coverage.