I am a co-founder of the Dean Forest Food Hub and founder of the Black Mountain Food Hub an ”online farmers market” that engages local consumers with local food producers. I would like to join the Renew Wales mentor scheme as there has been a growing interest in adopting our model of social enterprise from other community groups. Over the past two years we have developed an open source dual language platform that works alongside the Open Food Network UK. I would like to be able to give more of my time to enabling start-up ”Hwb Bwyd” in Wales using this Open Source ”package” we have designed and tested.
Why are you drawn to this area of work?
Our objective is to spread the food hub model throughout Wales. We have an open source dual language website that works alongside the Open Food Network UK. We invite interested groups to visit us on our weekly packing day for a chat and to let them see what the activity of running the food hub looks like. However, there is of course other back end processes and elements to running the enterprise that simply can not be covered in these brief meetings. As such, we want to be able to share our knowledge and experience of running Food Hubs more comprehensively with the groups that approach us for help.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
We will have created an association of networked Food Hubs in our region and throughout Wales. The food hub model will have enabled a resurgence in local food provision inspiring a new generation of small to medium scale producers to support and strengthen the economies of their towns and villages with a greater and renewed sense of place and connection to the land that nurtures them.
Our Towy Valley Food Hub will be linked along the Heart of Wales corridor to other Food Hubs using the rail link to distribute produce between them. The Heart of Wales corridor will become the “Garden of Wales” with small to medium scale food producers empowered to equitably trade their produce locally, regionally and nationally through this community owned distribution model.