A Dyfi Biosphere Local Food Ecosystem?
Tyfu Dyfi wants to increase the market for locally produced food – especially food that has been produced in harmony with nature. Food hubs are a recognised way of helping achieve this.
Food hubs can be physical or virtual (online) places, or a combination of both. For our purposes, the defining characteristic of a food hub is that it provides services and facilities to enable the various actors in the local food system, ie, producers, consumers, retailers, processors, etc, to trade more easily and efficiently with one another.
The Open Food Network (OFN) is an online trading platform developed by and for the sustainable food movement – it is a not-for-profit open source international endeavour.
From its inception, Tyfu Dyfi has been inspired and informed by OFN developments. Indeed, when writing the proposal, we sought advice from OFN UK on examples of best UK practice and were put in touch with the Cambridge Organic Food Company (COFCo).
We kept in touch and when we got to a stage in the project where we wanted peer review of our food hub plans, we got back in touch with COFCo. To our delight, we discovered that Duncan Catchpole had written a book capturing many of the lessons learned in Cambridge:
Local Food Ecosystems – How Food Hubs Can Help Create a More Sustainable Food System
The Local Food Ecosystem concept is broader than just food hubs. Essentially, it is an alternative way of structuring the supply chain and coordinating resources, a way of improving trading conditions for small food businesses. Food hubs are a core component: providing the services to enable the functioning of the local food ecosystem.
Tyfu Dyfi will end in the Summer of 2023. We aim to leave a lasting legacy and provide a foundation upon which activities started will continue post project. To this end, we are commissioning Duncan over the Summer of 2022, to facilitate a discussion with key stakeholders and explore if and how the Local Food Ecosystem concept might be applied in the Dyfi Biosphere area. Even if it does not, we should emerge with a clearer idea of what does work in this area.
Information on the Local Food Ecosystem concept:
Duncan’s book is the best possible source
This ~1 hour YouTube video introducing the concept is quite good
Here is a transcript (in English and Cymraeg) of a Sustainable Food Trust article: Local food ecosystems: A conversation with entrepreneur and author Duncan Catchpole