Founder of Regather
© Regather Co-op
Gareth Roberts, a co-founder of Regather, will openly tell you that he didn’t really know where Regather was heading when it became an enterprise start up in 2005, or even when it progressed to a co-op in 2010. "We made a model out of NOT knowing what we wanted to do", he proudly states. His passion for cooperation, extensive collaboration with people from all walks of life for over 20 years, and various experiences as an arts administrator, event manager, lecturer and serial social entrepreneur meant that it was never going anywhere but great places.
The Regather approach to developing trading activities means local people have always been able to engage Regather in proposing and developing new ideas for goods and services which meet the needs and interests of the local community. After 10 years of iterative development the Regather community brew beer, harvest fruit and veg, put on events, run community funding initiatives, host supper clubs, manage venues and so much more. "This diversity brings interest, resilience and huge opportunities for community engagement" says Gareth.
But most importantly is Regather’s underlying focus these days, which can be summarised by expressing the importance of looking at economics at a community level to help the world be a better place. It’s not to rule out global economics, but more to make sure that the local and the global are systems that can work together and complement each other.
Regather work on a number of urban and peri-urban sites across the city and are looking to develop and sustain a network of businesses and collaborators which fulfils a whole 'values based' food chain from field to fork, or plant to plate, focusing on fairness, well-being and positive local economic impact. This includes the full range of food system activities - from growing sites to packaging, distribution, and retail, through to events and education programmes.
It’s inspirational and visionary, but at the same time grounded and practical, and is a great initiative which brings together communities, neighbourhoods and people to better connect to the food system and urban environment we all share and which must be sustained for all our futures.