The final report for the Casey Food Hub scoping project is now available. An outline and key points are summarised below and the full report is available below.
Part 1 of this report describes the Scoping Project undertaken from July-December 2011.
The scoping project set out to:
- Undertake a preliminary investigation and consultation about the Casey context – what is the need and what are the opportunities;
- Introduce the idea and explore the potential of a ‘food hub’ as an intervention to reshape the local food system;
- Develop a methodology and resources that can also be used for replicable process in other regions; and
- Introduce a Concept Food Hub for Casey, to stimulate discussion and further action.
Part 2 outlines a case, considerations and suggested pathways for further development of a Food Hub in Casey.
From the scoping project, the project team suggests that there is a strong case for the development of a Food Hub and/or associated activities in the City of Casey, based on:
- A clearly identified need (and opportunity) for intervention in the Casey food system;
- High levels of interest and engagement in the idea of a Food Hub and the concept circulated;
- Proven success of the model overseas and an array of options for adaptation to local context; and
- Clear commitment of further funding from a project partner (VicHealth).
A food hub is, by its very nature, a significant intervention. It is not just an addition to the system that continues to work in a similar way, but a reasonably fundamental change to the way the local/regional food system actually works. It will open up opportunities for some and challenge established advantages for others.
It’s a big project, but there are clear possibilities for staging the development and working up the different functions sequentially. There is also much that can be done prior to (and alongside) the development of a physical Food Hub, including in relation to aggregation, distribution and marketing of local produce. There are opportunities to ‘bite off’ smaller pieces and get them working independently, whilst working towards the full implementation of the Food Hub over time.
To be successful and viable, an intervention of this kind will need to be based on high levels of trust and support from local stakeholders across the Casey-Cardinia food system, and therefore it is a priority to commence network-strengthening activities. Projects such as a local / regional food brand, for example would strengthen producer and trader networks as well as raising awareness amongst, and educating, Casey residents of the importance of a local food economy.
The priorities for further development are:
- Investigate and analyse the specific market demand – where is the need, who will it serve;
- Develop and strengthen the network of committed and engaged stakeholders who can see a real benefit for them;
- Facilitate the key stakeholders to refine the design into a workable and realistic proposal;
- Undertake a feasibility assessment and refine the proposal as necessary;
- Identify discrete ‘do-able’ projects that provide practical and visible demonstrations of the importance of a local food economy, and which can feed into the larger goal of establishing a Food Hub; and thereby
- Develop and strengthen the ‘local food ecosystem’ that both increases demand for healthy, sustainable, local food and enables it to be met.
The continued erosion in farm viability, increasing food insecurity, energy and environmental constraints and local economic development are all critical challenges, and mean that there is an element of urgency in developing food system interventions. This report therefore offers three project development pathways, each progressively accelerating the processes needed to deliver practical and tangible outcomes in the City of Casey. However, all options also embed a considered, grounded and strategic approach for building the necessary networks, support and a strong realistic business case that increases the chances of a successful intervention.
Full report here – Casey Food Hub Scoping Report (public)