Setting up a FoodhubThe municipality of Groningen is the main initiator of the Interreg-project Reframe. The goals of the project are to recover and set-up regional food chains in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. These regional food chains add to a sustainable future and sustainable economy by developing employment. In the context of the Reframe project, the municipality of Groningen will work on a network of interrelated foodhubs in and surrounding the city.
The regional foodchains add to more independent and powerful cities and a sustainable and viable countryside. Short food supply chains demand new forms of co-operating, new connections and support, and specialization and innovation within the food sector. The municipality and its partners want to realize and recover these foodchains together with other regions in Europe. By giving updates and exchanging knowledge in the development of these so-called living labs, the co-operating countries give aid and strengthen the development of the regional foodchains. At the first meeting, the partners from Sweden presented their Foodhub Network and the municipality of Groningen believed in the potential of such a network. Based on this, the exploration of local opportunities and a strategy for realization was born.
Regional Foodhubs are gathering-points for the products of regional food spread throughout the countryside. From these hubs, the products are transported to the city of Groningen where another foodhub is set-up and from which the food is distributed to consumers. Essential to the success of these hubs is a certain amount of standardization, without compromising the quality of the products. The results are recognizable products that can be distributed efficiently.
We see that the following elements form the base for a network:
- Sites in the region, where food can be gathered and distributed to the city or other locations.
- Site in the city of Groningen where food can be dropped of by distributers and can be picked up or distributed by other customers.
- Transport, that should be connected to existing traffic as much as possible.
- A quality mark.
- Standardization of transport and distribution
- Sales strategy
The following steps towards realization of a regional foodnetwork are desired:
- Explore the potential in the supply of regional food products
- Research quality demands and prices within the food chain
- Explore which elements are needed for a food network.
- Research several business cases that expose the composition of a food chain for specific products
- Find partners and find ways to co-operate
- Convince supply and demand parties to engage in a regional food network.
- Implement the network in steps
- Realize an urban food hub with visibility value
We are currently working on the research aspect and are exploring the possibilities in Groningen. In a couple of days we will give an update of our progress concerning the research.