Locavore says business will close if council force eviction from Bellahouston organic fam

Reuben Chesters is managing director of social enterprise LocavoreReuben Chesters is managing director of social enterprise Locavore
Reuben Chesters is managing director of social enterprise Locavore
Locavore have been growing vegetables at Bellahouston Nursery to sell since around 2019. They say eviction would close their two Glasgow shops.

The Locavore Community Interest Company, founded in Glasgow in 2011 as a not-for-profit social enterprise to build a more sustainable local food system, say they are being forced out of their growing site by Glasgow City Council.

The company operates zero-waste organic supermarkets in Govanhill and Partick alongside an online vegetable box delivery service. Locavore received a Notice of Removal from the council, telling them to leave Bellahouston Nursery by 31st July. The social enterprise took over the site in 2019, securing a lease in 2022. The plot within Bellahouston Park has a large greenhouse. It’s where they grow vegetables and bee-friendly flowers.

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Locavore explained this afternoon: “The site is Glasgow's only organic farm and home to our veg boxes. Here we are growing cucumbers, tomatoes, chillies, beans, peas and herbs with several tonnes due to be harvested over the coming months. Bellahouston is a site for sustainable food activity and hosts 120 community growing plots and homes for other community organisations and sustainable businesses. “Forcing our eviction at Bellahouston would result in the closure of Locavore with the loss of 80 jobs, our two shops, and the extensive range of social and environmental benefits that we provide to Glasgow and beyond. “We reached this point following months of snail paced interactions with the Council with the current position being reached following many delays and errors by various Council departments going back to October 2023. “In the run up to Locavore becoming operated by The Chard Holding Group CIC (following Locavore CIC's administration) we were assured we would be able to remain on site. Council officers stated they needed us here, would resolve the situation, and encouraged us to apply for funding through their Food System Development Fund. “In February 2024 the Council awarded us the maximum grant of £49,999 to continue developing Bellahouston as a sustainable food hub and then within a few months, out of the blue, another department told us we were unlawfully occupying and must leave within 10 days. “We were told the reason is because senior management at the Council were ‘not minded’ and we have been given no further feedback (despite requesting it) or given the opportunity to make our case or meet with the decision maker/s.” The company has launched a petition to support staying at the Bellahouston Nursery.

The council gave notice for its actions in April after the original lease became void when Locavore CIC entered administration in January.

A spokesperson said: “Locavore ceased to exist owing hundreds of thousands of pounds to its creditors, including the Council. As you would expect, Locavore’s lease also ended when that company was entered administration.

“Chard CIC have not taken on liability for any of the previous debts of Locavore and ChardCIC have been unable to demonstrate appropriate financial governance following the collapse of the previous company, Locavore.

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“The site at Bellahouston has not been developed as we had hoped and it is unclear why Chard CIC think they should be able to take on Locavore’s lease.

“Our Property Asset Management team, which manages rental arrangements in relation to council property, gave no assurance that the lease for Bellahouston Nursery would be transferred from Locavore to the new company, Chard CIC.

“We are committed to food growing and will work proactively with other organisations to ensure that the site at Bellahouston continues to contribute to the city’s food growing agenda.”

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