Sustainable Food Procurement Hubs   


From September 2022 – June 2023, we led an innovative pilot in Wales using community food hubs to supply the public sector with fruit and veg from local, nature-friendly growers. 

About the project

Providing access to local, nutritious fruit and veg through public institutions is one of the best ways to ensure a just transition to healthy diets, as well as supporting a productive local economy.

Our pilot demonstrated a willingness from growers, community businesses, procurement managers and public sector chefs to increase the demand and supply of local fruit and veg, but there is more work to be done to upscale this initiative. The continued involvement of Sustainable Local Food Partnerships that enable cross-sector conversation, is a key driver for continued advancement of local supply chains. 

The findings from our pilot are now available to help policy makers design legislation that enables more fruit and veg to be grown for local consumption, including through public institutions. We’ve also created a suite of resources to support growers, local food hubs and other community businesses to start supplying local produce to the public sector. 

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 Resources and further information

Role of Public Procurement in Transforming Wales's Food System report

This report focuses on the role focuses on the role that the Welsh public sector could play in stimulating a substantial increase in horticultural outputs produced in Wales.

> Read the report (English)

> Read the report (Welsh)

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Procurement Food Hubs video

Find out how Procurement Food Hubs work with our short film. We show how local produce gets to public sector chefs via a community-anchored food hub, and the benefits for growers, chefs, public sector bodies, and consumers. 

As part of the project, the Open Food Network developed new technology to support the aggregation of produce within the food hub and to streamline the ordering and delivery process.

> Watch the video on YouTube

Aspirational charter template

Our project focused on supporting local, small-scale growers, but didn’t set specific environmental standards. We used an aspirational charter, alongside training opportunities, to encourage growers on a journey towards nature-friendly production. 

> Download charter template

Understanding the carbon impact of growing

We worked with consultancies on collecting and processing data on the carbon footprint of small-scale, agroecological farming. We also measured the impact of growers, in particular, the carbon they sequester with nature-friendly methods. We are calling for further investment and support for growers to measure the full carbon impact of their operations to demonstrate the positive contribution local, agroecological production can have on net zero targets. Find out more and use our carbon footprint measuring templates.

> Watch a carbon impact presentation 

> Download carbon impact data collection template (Excel file)

> Use the Farm Carbon Calculator

> Read our Facilitating Footprinting report

Explaining the positive impact of food hubs

Using the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, we started to measure and quantify the added value of community-anchored food hubs. Using this simple template, hubs can explain the positive impact they have on a wide range of priorities for public bodies including health, local economy and net zero.

> Download the positive impact template

Making the case for nutrient-dense produce

Working with Growing Real Food for Nutrition throughout the project showed that 'a carrot is NOT just a carrot'. Different growing, storage and preparation methods impact the nutritional quality of the veg we consume. High nutritional density brings particular benefit to the public sector who have a responsibility, and opportunity, to positively impact the health of local children and older people through schools and care homes. Our report calls for further research into the benefits indicated by a small-scale assessment of local agroecologically grown produce compared to large scale production and distribution.

> Read the report on food quality testing

Project evaluation report

Our pilot project took place in Carmarthenshire and North Powys, find out more about the impact. 

> Read the full independent evaluation report

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Contact us

For further information, please get in touch using the links below: 

Project Coordination, Social Farms & Gardens – [email protected]
Foothold Fruit & Veg Hub, Llanelli – TBC  
Cultivate Food Hub, Newtown - Richard Edwards
Carmarthenshire Sustainable Food Places Partnership – Augusta Lewis 
North Powys Sustainable Food Places Partnership – Nick Burdekin
Open Food Network – [email protected]  

Project partners

The project was delivered by Open Food Network, Cultivate, Development Trusts Association Wales and Foothold Cymru and worked in partnership with the Sustainable Food Places Officers in the Carmarthenshire and North Powys. 

The partnership was guided by a Steering Group of experts with knowledge and experience and a shared vision to see public procurement contribute positively to the wellbeing of future generations, including:  

Food Sense Wales  
Carmarthenshire County Council
BIC Innovation
Urban Agriculture Consortium 
Menter Môn 
Landworkers Alliance Cymru 
Bwyd Sir Gâr Food  
Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) 

We received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. 


Our Work

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