Founded in 1971 as a small wholefood shop in the heart of Brighton, Infinity Foods is now a large workers co-op specialising in organic and natural foods. The business comprises of a large shop in the centre of North Laine with an in-house organic bakery and a large wholesale brand based in Shoreham-by-Sea.
This year marks their 50th anniversary, to celebrate they are supporting the much-loved Children’s Parade. We speak to the team behind Infinity Foods about the theme of care, community and their involvement with Brighton Festival.
As the theme of this year’s festival is care, how does Infinity foods help to care for its customers and the wider communities in Brighton & Hove?
Infinity Foods whole ethos is about caring for the environment, caring for our health, recycling and sustainability, but we also show care in other ways. As a company we offer OAP discounts, as we understand UK pensioners acquire the lowest state pension across the whole of Europe, so even on little income those people can still eat well.
We have also teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project, which is located in our old café, they are all about intercepting food waste to turn into healthy meals to serve to the community, on a 'pay as you feel' basis. We are giving them reduced rent at the moment, to give them access to that space.
In 2019, we worked with Pesticide Action Network to persuade the council to stop using pesticides in our local community, it is now being phased out which is great to see.
Infinity Foods have donated money to charities such as Sussex Wildlife Trust, who have recently had success in getting a new law passed, opposing any access to fishing or trawling in certain areas, allowing the kelp forests to regrow. Lastly, we try to educate as many people as we can about the organic movement and sustainable living.
What’s so special about having your business located in Brighton & Hove?
Brighton and Hove is an extraordinary place where forward-thinking people can grasp behind things. To have a health food shop like Infinity Foods in an area where we’ve got the first Green MP has allowed us to grow from a tiny café in the University of Sussex, which then grew into a shop in the 70s, and got bigger and bigger as time has gone on. Ultimately it has now enabled us to trade internationally, and I feel like Brighton is the only place where that is feasible, as Brighton attracts a certain type of person.
What event are you sponsoring in the Festival and what’s your involvement?
This year, we are sponsoring the Children’s Parade. A lot of my colleagues have children who have been in the parade for many years, so for us, this event is very special. We also believe, with everything happening with the pandemic, it’s really important to help children have that outreach and that sense of community. We feel that kids have been more greatly affected by Covid-19 by having schools closed for months on end, diminishing any sense of community they had amongst themselves.
We are also sponsoring them to help spread the message about what Infinity Foods is all about: care, specifically caring for yourself. Hopefully, we can educate the children whilst they’re still young about good health, both physically and mentally.
Why did you decide to get involved in the Festival and what do you enjoy most about it?
Brighton Festival has always created a buzz around the city, and we just want to keep that going. Before Covid-19, there would normally be a massive influx of people in the city to see all the things happening in the festival which creates an amazing atmosphere. It is also our 50th celebration so it makes sense to celebrate it all together and keep the buzz going!
What are you hoping people will enjoy most about the event you’re involved with?
Brighton Festival and community arts charity Same Sky are honouring the Children’s Parade this year with an online fanfare on Sat 1 May at 10.30 am. Same Sky has been working with local schools, providing children with flag-making activity packs as well as online creative tutorials to help parents and children to create artwork to celebrate the Children’s Parade. We hope that people of all ages will enjoy getting creative and that children will enjoy a sense of community.
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