Short description of the business or initiative:
The Family Foraging Kitchen C.I.C. is a social enterprise that provides wild food education through foraging walks, cookery classes and also run courses in traditional countryside crafts. A percentage of profit made from our ticketed walks and courses allow us to provide the same service, for free, to those experiencing local food poverty in our community.
Give a good example of your entrepreneurship:
I turned my passion and subsequent hobby, wild food foraging and cooking into a business when my first son was born (now 7). My way of life then, faced with a challenging financial situation (low income with a new baby to feed and nourish), opened my eyes to the realisation that other families were facing or faced with potential food poverty. I wanted to help others – and at the same time earn enough money to look after my family. I had a skill I could offer to help my community; whilst at the same time beginning what was to go on to become a profitable and successful business model.
How old were you when you started as entrepreneur?
What support did you have when you became an entrepreneur?
My husband and my family gave me encouragement support and had belief in me. I had the motivation and encouragement from another C.I.C (sadly no longer trading) called Maker Junction. They ran an education center locally and offered me a working space and early platform to advertise my walks and courses whilst I set up, initially, in becoming a Sole Trader (this was in 2013, although always working with social aims, we didn’t officially transition into a C.I.C until 2017).
What problem are you trying to solve and why?
Food poverty. Nature Deficit Disorder. Social Isolation. We are now disconnected from the food that we eat. Given the ecological, social and environmental crises that we now face globally, humanity needs to – rather urgently and radically – examine its relationship with food, how we acquire it and how we treat and engage with the natural world.
What is your target group? Level of impact (concentrated to the specific group, local, regional, wider…)
All ages, genders – intergenerational learning at its best.
Is social enterprise the best way they can help?
For many of the low income or social deprived people I work with who can’t afford high end, expensive tourist ‘foraging forays/cookery/heritage courses, yes.
Why this industry/area/topic, and why now?
It’s been my life’s work – it’s been 7 years- and it’s more relevant than ever in the current local, global and social crisis.
KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESS FACTORS
What drives your motivation?
My children – and all the children and families in my community. The plants and the natural world – and my love of food.
Does your job make you compromise with something or make sacrifices?
Yes. It’s a monopoly of my time and the stress and burn out is a real danger.
What does it take to be successful?
Constant hard work. Passion. Supportive friend and family. Self-belief and confidence.
What are the benefits, both personal and social?
Seeing the rewards of passing the gift of your knowledge onto others and it improving their lives ad that of the wider community.
SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
The most relevant skills and competence to perform your initiative/business successfully
Accept that it will be hard work – and you may need several tries at things – frustrations, and failure will be part of you. But these are important learning tools to help you better understand and achieve.
If you want to succeed, associate with positive and ambitious people. Build a tribe of support around you – particular of ‘elders’ or those who have done it/are doing it. Get a mentor. As much as they keep you motivated to achieve your goals, they can potentially bring valuable customers and partnerships to your business.
Remember that as much as giving back socially is rewarding – business is still about making money. Profit is not a dirty word when you are giving some if it back to those in need – so try and make it/find it where you can.