Walk down nearly any street in one of Edinburgh’s many neighbourhoods and you’re bound to see at least one shop with carboard boxes of veg out on the pavement. But have a closer look and the veg may not be so fresh, or local and once you get into the shop – you find it’s really just a newsagent/convenience store with no other healthy food in sight. I suppose that was what inspired the people of Bruntsfield to rally support and start their own community grocer where fruit and vegetables and access to healthy food (fresh and packaged) is a priority. Even before they had secured a premise, they got together, formulated a plan and started to drum up support. They decided to run the shop as a community co-operative with members owning shares in the business and volunteering in the shop and thus ‘Dig-in Bruntsfield‘ was created.
I’ve been following their progress with great interest on facebook, twitter and all the wonderful media attention but I only just made it into the shop last week. From the feedback received so far it seems like they are doing a pretty good job!!
The first impression is made even before I walk in the door. The traditional deep green shop front, with the friendly, curly writing was inviting me to ‘Dig-in’ and locals of all ages were pressing their noses against the glass windows wanting to find out what’s inside.
The old bicycle, with a basket full of goodies is a hint that this shop will be run with good, old-fashioned values and be full of wholesome, traditionally produced goods.
This in reinforced when you step inside; the store is clean, inviting, small but well stocked and attended by super friendly and well informed staff who were happy to chat about unusual ingredients, recipes, and even my juicing adventures (I think I convinced one to go home and dust off her juicer).
Whether you chat to them instore or on-line, the feeling is the same; Dig-in are friendly, easy to talk to and really want the community’s input, feedback and recommendations. The impression I got from visiting and from their involvement with their facebook/twitter followers is that they are very intent on finding the right balance between:
- providing fresh, local, seasonal fruit and veg and supplying the community with the goods they want when they want it
- providing quality produce at a fair price for both the producer and customer
- stocking basic packaged goods while at the same time trying to support the local farmers, bakers, producers
- and of course trying to keep things as healthy as possible.
And that’s where we can help! You can’t please all the people all the time, but letting the folk at Dig-in know how they’re doing will help make that balancing act so much easier! Personally, I liked what I saw but would really love to see some more of the local market traders represented. There are some great bakers, jam and preserve makers and cheese producers who trade at the many Edinburgh weekend markets or attend the food fairs but I’m not always around at the weekends so it would be nice to be able to go to a shop during the week and pick up some of my foodie favourites and Dig-in Bruntsfield would be an ideal showcase for these products.
So if you’re in the area, so stop in, have a look around, say hello and of course fill your basket with foodie treasure; olde-worlde bicycle not required.
Dig-In Bruntsfield Community Greengrocers Ltd
119 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh, Scotland EH10 4EQ
To volunteer contact email@example.com