Have you ever wondered how you could buy more local food?
Do you have an interest in where your food is grown or produced? Would you like to see more local producers within Lancaster District and the surrounding area? Would you buy more local food if it was easier and more convenient to do so?
These are questions that we’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few years.
In the summer of 2022, a group of farmers, producers, and others interested in local food systems met at Myerscough Agricultural College to hear the findings of a then new report, called ‘A tale of two counties: Strengthening local food cultures through mapping supply chains in East Sussex and Lancashire’.
That report explored the infrastructure that is needed in Lancashire to support and grow the local food system, and where the gaps are.
A Food Hub was recommended. A Food Hub is a way of enabling more direct trading between local food producers, businesses, and individuals. This will strengthen our local food network and promote and support a growing number of small-scale businesses, who are producing food in a sustainable manner.
LESS (a local social enterprise which coordinates local food projects) is now exploring the potential for a Food Hub in North Lancashire with funding from the UK Government.
There are lots of different models for Food Hubs, some support more direct trading between producers and food businesses whilst others use online platforms to allow customers to directly order their produce from a range of local sources in one place.
Some enable a more joined up delivery network – using decarbonised vehicles and shared delivery routes.
All of them are working to better connect local producers with local customers. Each of them is individual to the community that they serve.
This is a practical project, and the hope is to run a pilot of the Food Hub in 2025, based on the findings of the scoping work that is now underway.
If you are a producer, farmer, food processor, retailer or caterer, we are really keen to hear your views via our survey (https://foodfutures.org.uk/less-is-exploring-the-potential-for-a-local-food-hub/). As part of a thank you for getting involved, we will enter every completed entry into a prize draw (closes on 3 December) and will be offering a £50 local food voucher to our winner.
We hope that more of the amazing food that is produced in and around Lancashire and South Cumbria is consumed here, and in doing so we can shorten supply chains and keep costs down while supporting our local food producers.
If you have any further questions about this project, or would like to be kept informed about the project and other ways to input, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com