Have a Wild Thyme in Southsea!

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A workers’ co-operative has opened a wholefood store, juice bar and vegan takeaway after receiving a loan from The Co-operative Loan Fund.

Wild Thyme in Southsea, Portsmouth, opened on Saturday 9 May 2015; the result of two years’ hard work from the co-op’s eight members. It is the only wholefood shop in the area, but joins a diverse and exciting landscape of local independent retailers.

The co-operative is committed to offering wholefoods, vegan, fair trade and organic products at affordable prices. The new shop stocks the widest range of natural foods in Portsmouth, including many specialist products not available elsewhere in the area, alongside daily staples like fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen items, herbs and spices and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Most products are sourced from other co-ops, small farms and local suppliers. Local bike delivery will soon be available, using a cargo bike lent by UK based sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Since 2013, Wild Thyme has been operating a wholefood takeaway stall at various events around Portsmouth. The members hope that their new, permanent home will become a place for customers to not only shop, but congregate, spend time, learn new things and try new foods. Knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand to answer questions about food, nutrition and recipes.

Portsmouth has the worst malnutrition rates in Hampshire. With an average 50% of meals eaten outside the home, a healthy alternative to the usual fast food choices is a welcome addition to the high street. The organic and wholefoods sector has grown by 30% in the last year, and continues to prosper.

Wild Thyme member Frances Vigay commented:

Much of food retail lacks concern for how and where food is grown, and the effect it’s having on people’s health. Ethics are at the core of what we do at Wild Thyme – care and concern for the producers, growers, the environment, as well as the people who will be buying our products and consuming them. We want local people to feel empowered about their health and nutrition.

A loan from us was used to refurbish and equip the new shop premises – an old beauty salon on Palmerston Road, Southsea.

Our loan adviser, Ian Rothwell, said: “Co-operative & Community Finance has been a passionate supporter of the organic and wholefoods movement for over 40 years. We’re delighted that this sector has seen such rapid growth and a rise in popularity over recent years. Wild Thyme is a brilliant addition to Southsea.”

Visit www.wildthymewholefoods.co.uk to find out more.