New food co-operative launches in Methil

Mandy Galloway and Beverley Sword.
Mandy Galloway and Beverley Sword.

A new food cooperative has launched in Methil offering a range of items for cheaper prices.

It’s Your Choice was set up by local women Mandy Galloway, Beverley Sword and Laura Cramb, and operates out of Methil Industrial Estate on Wednesdays.

The aim of the scheme is to offer users greater choice and access to low cost foods, and give people a sense of community ownership.

The cooperative offers a range of food, from fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, to snacks, cakes and the usual dried goods like pasta and rice.

Already 264 people have signed up, paying just £5 per year to be a member. It runs as a points system, with a certain amount of points allocated to each item. Members can pay up to £4 per week.

However, for members who might be struggling to cover the cost for whatever reason, there is an ‘on tick’ system that allows members to use it for four weeks and pay the cost off at a later date.

Mandy, Beverley and Laura were approached to take the idea forward by Menu for Change while involved with Fife Gingerbread. The trio took a year to work out how the cooperative would work – and it appears to have worked out. A queue forms outside the building half an hour before it even opens, because of how popular it has become.

“In some respects I was surprised how quickly it took off, in other respects I wasn’t, because we knew it was going to work,” explained Beverley.

“That’s why it took us so long to develop it. We didn’t want to make massive mistakes and for it not to work. That’s why we really wanted to think about it. We knew what was needed, and it seems to be working. It’s growing every week quite fast.”

It’s Your Choice has been such a big success that the trio, who already give up three days per week to run it, are looking to open up another day and expand.

“It’s been really busy,” said Mandy. “Because it’s just the three of us, the whole running and organising can be overwhelming. But it’s now settled.”

Menu for Change, which brought the idea to the trio, has been working in Fife since 2017, with the aim of reducing the use of foodbanks. Levenmouth was one of three areas across Scotland the organisation wanted to focus on.

“It’s not a hand-out and people feel they are part of it,” explained project officer, Chelsea Marshall. “It’s been really successful.”

For more information, visit the It’s Your Choice Facebook page.