Dean Forest Food Hub is a not-for-profit social enterprise aiming to ensure everyone in the Forest of Dean can access affordable, local food that is fair for the producer as well.
One hundred years ago how many people couldn’t afford an organic lettuce? No one! Everybody ate nutritious, organic food all the time. Why is it now something for those better off?
What is a Food Hub?
It’s a place that helps all of our community connect with good quality food. We know there is nothing better than fresh farm produce; veg from healthy soil, meat that was reared naturally, fresh herbs and spices, quality grains for flours that make the tastiest bread, real cheese, home made chutneys… real food… and it should be for everyone.
The Forest of Dean has not traditionally been an agricultural area. However the area is home to a large number of market gardens, cheese makers, beef, pork, lamb and poultry producers, a variety of orchards and even mushroom growers. The abundant forests can provide wood for our energy needs and woodland products like charcoal for BBQs and drawing. These industries could provide meaningful employment and inject millions into the local economy. However, flawed policy and the ‘cheap’ produce imported by the supermarkets have meant that these industries are not supported and the economic boost they could provide is instead sent elsewhere.
Our goal is to connect the dots. We aim to support local produce, and support the right of local people to affordable and quality produce. We aim to be a hub in which people can find out about local agriculture projects, to support producers in connecting with local food eaters and support the local community access affordable and quality food sourced as locally as possible.
Why do we need one?
The reality of food for most families these days is sterile fluorescent lighting on plastic wrapped products that have travelled twice around the world before making into the supermarket trolley. Such food is extremely expensive: it’s expensive to the wallet, to the planet, to our own health and to the local economy. Supermarkets send most of their turnover out of the forest, taking jobs and wealth from our local economy. The common myth is that supermarkets are cheaper, and the goal of the community food hub is to show that there is another way. Let’s create a new Food Culture!
Why would we Want one?
Supporting local food can create 1000s jobs in the Forest of Dean and put millions back into our local economy.
A community food hub can make quality staple goods like flours and oils more affordable. It can help you get more out of your food with workshops and skillshares. It can encourage us all to use less packaging. It can help to make food and cooking social and fun, something to celebrate.
A community food hub can support growers and producers by connecting people with the land, and encouraging people to get more directly involved in farming; Community Supported Agriculture. It can help identify the food gaps, and help new entrants to farming identify good business ideas. It can help local producers thrive in the region.