Nick suggested I put up something about our Stroud Food Hub. Here is an outline:
Stroudco Food Hub

A social enterprise for local food producers and community

Principles
• Provide affordable, locally-produced food to people in Stroud
• Give producer members access to a local market at higher than wholesale prices.
• Build supportive and understanding links between producers and consumers
• Develop food culture and community strength


Structure
The food Hub has producer members who commit to;
• Supply food for sale at lower than retail prices
• Give 8% of what they sell through the Hub to the Hub for running costs, the most significant of which is the workers’ wage.
• Hold an annual event inviting consumer members to help with their work, picking fruit, haymaking, fencing, farm open day, camping, host a bring and share meal, etc
• Provide a service to other producer members such as shared deliveries, loan of equipment, loan of labour, etc. Offers to have a roughly equivalent financial value.

The Hub has 200 consumer members who
• Pay membership of £24 per year
• Build up to buying an average of £32 of food per month through the Hub within 2 years.
• Contribute at least 2 hours of voluntary work per year such as food packing, farm labour, administration.


Benefits
Producers do minimal marketing. They get up-front ordering and payment, higher than wholesale prices and a single delivery point. Producers control their own market without supermarket contracts.

Consumer members have relationships with producers, community activity, access to farm life, no need to pay ‘middlemen’ so affordable food at slightly less than retail prices, short supply chain so fresh food.

The enterprise is a not for profit social enterprise, controlled by community and producer members. It is registered as a Community Interest Company. Anyone can join as a community member. Producers can join by permission of existing members. The board comprises of consumer and producer members.


Activities
A worker is employed by the Hub to maintain an on-line catalogue of products available from producers, manage finances, encourage co-operation and organise events. The worker is answerable to the board and paid a wage with a bonus.

Members order and pay for food in advance through the Hub website. Producer members will deliver produce to a central point.

Members are invited to monthly events such as a presentation from a producer, on farm events, joint processing days, etc

The Hub owns items for loan to members such as a juicer, sausage maker, roasting spit, juice press, etc



Distribution and delivery space
Food drops will happen initially once a month, building up to a weekly drop with the first year. The co-op will have access free of charge to the hall at Parliament Primary School. All produce is delivered by the producers to this venue.

The worker sorts the food into boxes according to what each consumer has ordered. The consumer members take it in turns to help with the food sort. The co-op worker prints off picking lists which make the sorting job as simple as possible.

Consumer members collect from the school hall on Saturday afternoon. Consumers are encouraged to collect for other consumers local to them.

Consumers can choose to pay a delivery charge and have the co-op worker deliver the food to their home.



Set up
A grant funded worker will set up the enterprise, so that it can be handed over to a part time employee as a viable not-for-profit business after 3 years.
The software and website and all set up systems are designed to be given away free of charge for other groups to adapt and use.

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Tags: food, hub

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