Hepburn: co-designing a food hub
Food hubs play an important role in local food systems. Food hubs reconnect consumers with local producers by aggregating products from local farms and producers, and distributing to consumers and businesses. This overcomes the disconnect between the production and consumption of food, enabling consumers to understand where their food comes from, and how it is produced.
This supports positive outcomes for all local communities involved. Food hubs support the livelihood and resilience of producers through fair and transparent economic, social and environmental returns. This also provides local communities with increased access to quality food that is fresh, healthy, and locally grown.
As rapid environmental, economic and social changes continue pressuring the food system, now, more than ever, it is imperative that we support the resilience of food hubs. Through the Hepburn Hub Design project, we have been supporting stakeholders in the Central Highlands region to design a food hub, and bring this vision to life.
This report summarises the work that the Open Food Network undertook to co-design the Hepburn Food Hub in partnership with the local community and Hepburn Shire Council. It provides a number of key recommendations to guide stakeholders in how to progress the vision of a Hepburn Food Hub and turn it into a reality.
This project was funded by the Hepburn Shire Council as part of a 3-year Artisanal Agriculture project that is aiming to support producers in the Central Highlands region to enhance their knowledge, skills and opportunities for success.
The Hepburn Food Hub Co-Design project brought together over 30 local stakeholders including producers, eaters, businesses and Council staff over 2 workshops. Together, we learnt about other examples of food hubs, and explored designs for a Hepburn Food Hub, including how it would operate, where it would be and who would run it.
Participants helped to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) representing a shared vision for the food hub, which included a community-owned online and retail shopfront, selling fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. The MVP included facilities to aggregate and store produce, with additional longer term capacity for processing and logistics facilities.
To support the move from vision to action, the Open Food Network made 6 key recommendations to the Hepburn Shire Council:
- The community can lead and deliver a physical food hub
- Set up governance structures to enable progress
- Keep focus on the defined MVP
- Confirm existing and leverage new funding
- Scope sites in Daylesford
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Open Food Network respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the unceded lands on which we meet, work and live. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging and acknowledge their deep spiritual relationship to country.