TamarGrowLocal is a local initiative that uses the software platform offered by The Open Food Network to connect consumers and producers. TamarGrowLocal (https://tamargrowlocal.org/) acts as a local intermediary, giving consumers the chance to buy local and bypass supermarkets in Cornwall, England. The initiative is a ‘not for profit’ Community Interest Company (CIC) set up on cooperative principles for the benefit of the community, and supports smaller, local farms that may use alternative and regenerative farming practices.
Alternative distribution platforms for locally produced food
Participating partners: University of Exeter (UK)
The Science-Policy-Interface (SPI) in South West England will focus on an analysis of the Food Hub managed by the Community Interest Company (CIC) Tamar Grow Local (TGL). The Food Hub has been in operation for nearly ten years and serves as a vehicle for connecting local suppliers in the Tamar Valley (Devon/Cornwall border) with local consumers. The Hub comprises an on-line retail site (using Open Food Network software) through which producers market their products (meat, vegetables, fruit, fish, juices) with weekly deliveries managed centrally by TGL staff who also provide wider business support to suppliers who require it. Whilst the Hub has proved itself to be an inspirational example of a short supply chain food system model, it’s success has largely depended on the altruism of TGL staff, trustees and a network of volunteers. The VISIONARY team will work with Food Hub stakeholders to understand what are the barriers to the Food Hub expanding and becoming economically resilient over the long term. Though primary and secondary research, we will seek to better understand the current blockers and what change is needed (in government policy, legislation, consumer habits, other) to help the Food Hub (and others like it) grow and flourish. The SPI will contain two types of individual: (1) ‘primary actors’ and (2) ‘secondary actors’. Primary actors are practitioners who are/could be directly involved in TGL Hub operational activities (e.g. staff, trustees, producers, customers, operational partners). Secondary actors are those who set policy/regulatory/funding frameworks which have an influence on TGL Hub activities or who might play a role in helping/leveraging TGL Hub activities in the future (e.g. Local Authorities, academics/technology providers, funding agencies/entities, business support organisations, Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs), Open Food Network etc). These secondary actors exist at a local level (i.e Cornwall/Devon) but they are also based at a regional and national level.