Supporting Sustainable Food Hubs
This project helps make the case that sustainable food hubs should form part of the permanent infrastructure of the UK food system
Brexit and Covid disrupted the food system in different ways, but both highlighted the risks that come from over-reliance on consolidated supply chains. A resilient food system requires more diverse and flexible infrastructure. Sustainable Food Hubs help to fill this gap. Sitting between producers and eaters, they are pioneers and test-beds for methods of food distribution that match the scale and values of agroecological production.
Sustainable Food Hubs source food directly from these producers, aggregate and sort it, and sell it on to customers, while upholding a set of standards or values supportive of sustainability principles. This covers a range of businesses, from farm shops and community groceries to veg box schemes. They provide invaluable outlets for sustainable producers, and act as a convenient point of purchase for customers and consumers. Sustainable Food Hubs thus play an important role as gatekeepers of values and standards in these supply chains.
The UK has a multitude of sustainable food producers, committed to growing and making food in ways that respect people and animals, and protect the environment and the climate. They are often small in scale; their products tend to be seasonal, regional and non-standard; and they aim to pay fair prices and wages. Getting products to market, especially in competition with the big multiple retailers, can be challenging for these producers acting individually.
Our Sustainable Food Hubs project aims to provide evidence to strengthen the case that Sustainable Food Hubs are indispensable to fair and resilient food systems, and deserve policy and practical support.
For more information contact FRC Research Officer Bella Driessen.
- (2018). The 10 Elements of Agroecology: Guiding the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems. Rome, Italy. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/I9037EN
- Vaarst et al. (2018). Exploring the concept of agroecological food systems in a city-region context, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 42(6), 686-711. org/10.1080/21683565.2017.1365321