I’ve spent the past couple of days with the Pasture Fed Livestock Association [PFLA]. If you don’t know the name sort of suggests what they are about, the difficult task of using pasture as the basis for contemporary farming. Taking up the challenge of not feed soya, maize, barley, corn and the like to produce meat from the pastures of the UK. There is a lot of science and findings to follow on about this but what I want to note about this is the way they have organised themselves.
The PFLA is very much an organisation of its time in that it has been organised largely through the efforts and financial support of its members. In that way it is a both a business opportunity for its members but also a network based on an innovation. This sort of frugal innovation offers those who want to buy its products some very direct benefits but also it is producing a public good. Although it is slight in terms of financial resources it is very well endowed with skills and talents in its members.
Over the past few years this has been a notable feature of the new wave of food innovations – based in Community Interest Companies, offering a commercial face to a social and ecological purpose, they are rich in skills whilst frugal in resources. This means that they are very much more robust than previous organisations that were reliant on either grant assistance or state support. It does also mean that they offer frugal opportunities for people to develop their skills in the longer term. Rather it is a question of skills and careers matching these new more frugal, but robust interventions.