About Common Cause Co-operative - Past Work

Common Cause was established in 1991 and has initiated, or been involved in, a wide variety of projects since its beginnings, some of which now continue independently...

We set up Just Trade, an ethical/organic bulk food-buying co-op and helped establish the Ashurst Organics veg-box  delivery scheme run from a local farm. Art for Employment provided exposure for local under-employed artists and the well-established  Furniture Now!  charity was started in 1993 to keep useable furniture out of the waste stream and provide it where most needed.

In 1997 we produced a local produce directory to link farmers and growers with shops and restaurants. We held a Sustainable Lewes conference in 1998 on issues including transport, energy, housing, food, and waste, and later that year started the Lewes Farmers' Market, one of the first in the country. 


We commissioned a pedal-powered blender, built from bicycles by a local artisan, on which children make fruit smoothies at fetes and healthy-eating events.

Sussex Organic Link, which we established to provide farm work-experience and training courses, was developed in 1999 into the  Organic Agriculture Training in East Sussex (OATES) and after an assessment of the needs of organic producers in the Sussex area, this led to the conception of the Netherfield Centre for Sustainable Food and Agriculture which opened in 2003. The Netherfield working farm and on-farm classroom is now run by Plumpton College.

Beet That Cover

We developed numerous initiatives as part of the Food & Health Partnership to increase use of local food in the public sector, including improving school menus and creating a college-level cookery course. In 2001 we produced a booklet of ideas on making full use of a veg-box, later followed by The Friendly Vegetable Book, and Beet That! A Top Trumps card game based on the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, which has been distributed to local Primary Schools.

The Lewes Organic Allotment (now known as Lewes Community Allotment) was cleared and planted in 2004 and has become a site for workshops and programmes including the Lottie Project for schoolchildren. The Compost Doctor scheme was started in 2004 to give practical help and advice on home composting and in 2006 we helped to establish a new community orchard growing varieties of apples and pears in Ringmer.

Common Cause is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, registered in Sussex no. 2900270. Membership is open to all who share our aims to support:

  • Social, economic and environmentally sustainable community development
  • Local food production and connections between producers and consumers
  • Agricultural development sensitive to the landscape and its biodiversity
  • Social enterprises and initiatives