Food Hubs in the UK: Where are we and what next?

Food Hubs in the UK: Where are we and what next?

Paola Guzman and Christian Reynolds

Food hubs are proliferating. But what exactly are they? What are they for? And why do we need them? This Discussion Paper and Guidance Note present the findings from the first phase of our work, which brought together people already working in food hubs and academic researchers.

Broadly speaking, food hubs are entities that sit between people who produce food and people who eat it, gathering food from growers and distributing it either to commercial customers or directly to consumers. They can fill gaps in local food infrastructure, help consumers find locally sourced produce, support new forms of food retail, incubate food enterprises, or create a space for community education and action.

Sustainable food hubs endeavour to apply standards or values supportive of sustainability principles to their sourcing and how they operate. They thus provide an appropriate route to market for agroecological and ethical growers and makers.

The reports have been written for people who want to understand the role of food hubs in the UK, or to determine whether a food hub is appropriate for their locality and purposes.

About the authors

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Paola Guzman

Paola is a PhD student at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. Her research focuses on the financial and operational performance of box schemes and CSAs in England and Wales. Paola has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and master’s in urban design. For five years Paola worked at Sustain in the Capital Growth project which supported Londoners to create over 2,000 food-growing community gardens in London. Paola co-owned and worked at Calabaza Growers for three years, a small-scale horticultural business in the edge of London that supplied vegetables to box schemes in London. Paola is fluent in Spanish and English.

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Christian Reynolds

Christian Reynolds is a Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow (N8 AgriFood project) at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, and an adjunct Research Fellow at the Barbara Hardy Institute for Sustainable Environments and Technologies, University of South Australia. Christian’s research examines the economic and environmental impacts of food consumption; with focus upon sustainable, healthy and affordable diets; and, food waste.

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