About the organisation
Will you join us? Can you volunteer your time to help change the food system, and support community-based traders who sell locally-grown, planet-friendly produce? We want to hear from you!
Better Food Traders exists to support small and medium-sized enterprises who are aligned with our mission – to create a visible, thriving food retail system that supports the environment, farming communities, local economies and local people.
Together, Better Food Traders and its members are working to build a sustainable, viable alternative model for the supply and sale of food across the UK, which recognises the social, economic and environmental benefits of a decentralised way of producing and selling food.
We are a UK-wide network of more than 140 members, consisting of a wide range of charities, social enterprises and independent businesses, who all place people and planet at the heart of their business models. We have been around since 2019, growing from a cohort of veg box schemes incubated by the social enterprise Growing Communities, to become the UK’s national network of ethical food retailers.
Our members include shops, online sellers, veg box schemes, market stalls, food hubs and wholesalers. All members commit to selling UK-grown, organic/agroecological produce; to supporting small and medium scale UK organic farmers by paying fair prices; to avoiding air-freighted goods; and to working in and for their local community. We provide ongoing support for these enterprises in the form of specialist training, business advice, online resources, peer-support groups, network-building and in-person events.
Better Food Traders works to influence and shape three important and interrelated parts of the system: the traders who make up our membership, the public who purchase goods, and the policy landscape in which our members have to work. We can’t change one without the other, and together they create a virtuous circle of change. Find out more from last year’s impact report (attached).
Why we need you
Better Food Traders is transitioning to become an independent charity, and we are recruiting a number of Trustees including a Treasurer and a Chair. We’re looking for people whose life experiences and/or skills provide the expertise to support our network of local, planet-friendly and ethical food traders.
The Board of Trustees will play a vital role in ensuring our organisation has solid plans and executes them successfully to achieve our aims. We are keen to welcome people who may not have been Trustees before, and will offer additional support to get you up to speed with the responsibilities of a charity board member.
Trustee positions are open to anyone aged 18 and over, of any background. We recognise that diversity of voices in positions of responsibility adds to an organisation’s potential, helps to generate a greater variety of ideas, and enables new and different approaches. We realise that there is a lack of diversity within the sustainable food sector, and we want to try to address that in our Board to make sure that Better Food Traders can best serve all communities. Whatever your lived experiences, your application is welcome - everyone’s voice is important.
About the role
The role itself is unpaid, but reasonable expenses are paid. The annual commitment is 4 x 2.5-hour Board meetings plus quarterly sub-committee meetings on Finance. Meetings will usually be in the evenings, over video conferencing. In addition, the board will be invited to meet once a year face-to-face at our Annual Gathering.
Term of appointment
The term of appointment is three years. Trustees may then be reappointed for a second term of three years. You can resign at any time if you can no longer make the necessary time commitment.
- Lead the Board’s duty to ensure proper accounting records are kept.
- In liaison with the Director and other staff as appropriate, prepare and present quarterly financial reports to the Board, and oversee planning/budgeting.
- Oversee the production of the annual accounts and ensure our legal responsibilities to report our accounts are fulfilled.
- Liaise with external auditors.
- Attend Board meetings to review the charity’s work so that we stay on track with our mission and finances.
- Make sure that our strategies are relevant, achievable and being actioned.
- Support our Director and small staff team to deliver the organisational strategy through constructive feedback and creative input.
- Support our Director to ensure Better Food Traders remains a learning organisation, where staff and freelancers can review their performance and receive feedback.
- Ensure our Director’s responsibilities are clearly expressed and understood, and that directions given to them come from the Board collectively.
- Review and agree policies.
- Be aware of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities that are relevant to the Better Food Traders network, and make sure the organisation is complying with these requirements.
Our ideal candidate
What we’re looking for
- A commitment to the activities of the Better Food Traders network.
- Independent judgement and strategic vision.
- Good communication skills.
- Ability to work effectively as part of a team that makes collective decisions.
- Willingness to engage in regular Board meetings and potentially occasional public events organised by or for the charity.
We are looking for candidates whose values align with ours. We recognise that not everyone will have had access to the same opportunities, and we are committed to acknowledging this in our recruitment processes. We will be assessing applicants based on lived experience as well as work history and education. If you’ve never been a Trustee before, we would like to support you - for example with mentoring from another experienced Trustee on the board.
What’s in it for you
This is an exciting opportunity to help shape a new charity, joining us as we spin out after 4 years of being a project within the social enterprise Growing Communities. It will be a critical time in our development and you will play an important role in helping us navigate through that.
We already have three brilliant and experienced Trustees confirmed: Sarah Williams (Director of Policy at Sustain, the alliance for food and farming), Natasha Soares (sustainable food project manager and Board Director of Local Greens) and Julie Brown (Director of Growing Communities). We are also approaching people from organisations within our membership so that our members are well-represented. This will be a welcoming, supportive and vibrant board, with people of many different skills, experiences and talents.
We are keen to welcome people who may not have been Trustees before, and will offer additional support to get you up to speed with the responsibilities of a charity Treasurer.
This is a chance to volunteer your time to help change the food system, and support community-based traders who sell locally-grown, planet-friendly produce.
Apply for the role
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Please provide a cover note if it is requested in the role description. Applications which are personalised, setting out your motivations for volunteering for the organisation and relevant skills/experience, are far more likely to be successful.