LESS (a local social enterprise which coordinates local food projects) is exploring the potential for a Food Hub in North Lancashire.
The aim of the Hub would be to strengthen our local food network and promote and support a growing number of small-scale businesses, who are producing food in a sustainable manner.
The Food Hub has been identified a number of times as a key piece of local infrastructure which is needed to help us grow and eat more local food within the District.
What is a food hub?
A Food Hub aims to enable more direct trading between local food producers, businesses and individuals.
There are already a number of successful Food Hubs that have been developed around the UK – from Tamar Valley in Devon, up to Glenkens in Galloway.
Each of them is individual to the community they serve. 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.
Added to this, is the idea of a more joined up delivery network – using decarbonised vehicles and shared delivery routes which help significantly reduce food miles and make deliveries more viable for small producers. Sharing other back-office functions may also help producers.
We hope that more of the amazing food that is farmed or produced in or around Lancashire and South Cumbria is consumed here, and in doing so we are able to shorten supply chains and keep costs down, and support our local food producers.
The work will look at:
The feasibility work will be undertaken between now and March 2024, after which the intention is to set up pilot Food Hub infrastructure in 2025.
The feasibility work will explore the following questions:
What’s worked well in other places and what learning/experiences can be drawn upon?
Are local producers interested in distributing their produce via a Food Hub?
What demand is there for buying produce through the Food Hub?
What values will guide the Food Hub?
What scale will it operate at, where should it be located and what are the other logistical considerations?
What benefits would we expect to see in Lancaster District from a Food Hub?
We want to hear from you!
Initially, we have launched two surveys (closing date 3 December).
If you’re a farmer, grower, baker, beekeeper, and anyone who is producing or processing food locally – we want to hear your thoughts and ideas on how a Food Hub may support your business or enterprise.
Please take the time to fill in our ‘producer and processor’ survey (less than 10 mins for completion).
Restaurants, pubs, cafes, independents, and anyone who is sourcing food as part of their business – we also want to hear from you. Please take the time to fill in our ‘retailer and caterer’ survey (less than 10 mins for completion) so we can understand how a Food Hub may work for you.
There will also be a range of public events that will take place in coming months to ensure that we get wide input to the design of the Food Hub. This will include knowledge sharing sessions about food hubs in other places, how they operate and what benefits they bring, as well as a chance to feed into the proposals being developed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This work is being undertaken by LESS (Lancaster District) CIC with funding from the UK Government via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The Food Hub feasibility project is being delivered with support from Closing Loops, a collaborative work programme to stimulate a thriving local economy in North Lancashire, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The work is undertaken as part of the FoodFutures partnership to deliver on the local ten-year Community Food Strategy developed in 2021.
The Food Hub infrastructure is identified as a strategic priority and was also a recommendation from the Tale of Two Counties report undertaken by Sustain.