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Changes to the High Street

2018 has been marked by news of store closures on the high street.  So what is to be done?


Do we really need all shops to be able to offer the convenience of online? Is it really feasible for high streets shops to compete with the nimble offers available online?

As consumers we have a role here.   To pretend that we are going to give up the convenience of online for the High Street, maybe seen as naive.   Instead perhaps we need to see this issue through a different lens.  Perhaps we need to put a value on the high street.  The different people; sounds; colours; even the physical activity of walking around in a usually fairly safe area.  This all has a value.  Currently we choose not to measure that value, or at least measure it in way that commands attention. Somehow the social return on investment type valuations, don’t really make good headlines.  Whereas that the latest news about shops closing and empty high streets do make powerful images.

Perhaps there is too much nostalgia about the high street.  For many people born before the Internet, shopping on the high street is bound up with memories and half forgotten adventures.   No wonder so many people feel sad that their high street is changing.

So what is the future of the high street?  We have become used to the easy quick fix of Internet shopping.   This makes any plea to go out and “buy local” at best only a partial solution.  We are not going to give up the convenience and ease of shopping on the Internet.  Maybe the future of the high street isn’t primarily around selling us stuff.

Maybe the future of the high street lies around its ability to offer different experiences that we can’t get elsewhere.  Several Town Centres are starting to embrace this new role by bringing into the town centre, different activities, which bring people together.  For instance during the school half term Stevenage in Hertfordshire had a giant darts activity and inflatable rides in the town centre.  Local authorities have an important role in the town centre.   For local authorities, arguably the most important role they have is in terms of leadership.   Specifically what many high streets lack is a vision and the the long term drive to make that vision happen.

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Today, Business in the Community has launched “Responsible Business Week 2015”. Red Potato are very happy to support #RBWeek.  Red Potato will (fingers crossed!) be offering a great work placement opportunity for a local student to develop some funky stuff, later this week.  More news on that after the interviews!

Responsible Business Week got us thinking…shouldn’t every week be “Responsible Business Week”? Isn’t it good business practice that a business needs to have roots in the communities it serves?

BITC_Planters_Categories_SUPPORTING_AW Continue reading #RBWeek

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Something to get the sap rising

Oh dear, “weak resistance to splitting and some resistance to bruising”.  This doesn’t sound very positive.   No, this is not the obituary of a politician or the characteristics of diving footballers .  It is the Potato Council verdict on the “Rubesse” potato tubers.   Here at the Red Potato HQ in Hertfordshire, we like to “live the company” and each year we plant some Red Potatoes using organic compost we’ve tended over the winter.

This year we have planted some Rubesse, Red Potato tubers.   There is not much to see yet, but at least they seem to be growing!

Red Potato - from the air


Not sure why the plants have grouped like that.  We didn’t plant them together!

Now we love pictures of potato plants as much as anyone else, but there are perhaps more photogenic subjects.  And let’s face it pictures of potato plants aren’t that “sexy”.   So for everyone who wants something a bit more exciting, to stimulate and “get the sap rising”  here is another picture.



Bluebells in Spring


Yes, a picture of the beautiful bluebells that show that Spring has sprung!

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Red Potato company compost heap – February update

 I know many people are not interested in the company compost heap and wonder why we at Red Potato go on about compost.  So I hope some of the text below goes some way to explain why we think compost is important

There is something quite magical about how our food scraps, grass cuttings, and leaves get transformed into the sweet-smelling compost that is rich in the nutrients to grow more food.   Here at Red Potato HQ we have just added several loads of horse manure to add to the mix.    Most stables are only too glad to let you have the manure for free; even a small stable yard can produce around 450kgs of the stuff per day – all of which takes up lots of space in the yard.   Sorry sounding a bit like a “storage salesman” – let’s get back to the compost….

Aerial view of bag of horse manure

Its been quite a dry winter and I’m afraid that we haven’t been watering the Red Potato compost heap sufficiently.   As a result the heap was looking quite dry and lifeless when we turned it over recently.   However since adding around 10 bags of horse manure the heap is looking much more healthy!  A photo of the heap after the dose of manure is shown below!


 OK so all that is fine for the garden, but what has it got to do with Red Potato – a new company which is uses technology to improve  community engagement.   Well, Red Potato believes in putting stuff back into the ground from which it was taken – “what ye sow, so shall ye reap”.   In terms of our business model we help public sector organisations get a better insight into the communities they serve, by enabling the communities themselves to tell their own story, in their own words – without the need for b*llsh*t or well-rotted horse manure!

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The joy of compost

I know, I know, this is meant to be a serious business blog, but here at Red Potato we feel strongly about recycling and the wonders of compost.   Something to do with “as ye sow, so shall ye reap”.  

My King Edwards seem to thrive on a good dose of compost and well rotted manure.   I guess fellow gardeners will have harvested their crop by now, and be preparing the ground for next year.   It’s been an unseasonably warm autumn so far, which has meant we’ve had a glorious autumn show from the trees.   But now enough is enough; we need some cold, crisp frosts to kill off the slugs and other-wintering pests.