Food Supply and Distribution - evaluation of this strand of the Making Local Food Work programme

Independent evaluation of the Food Supply and Distribution strand of the Making Local Food Work programme, conducted by Dr Stuart Jones of the Programme for Community Regeneration at the University of Glamorgan


Food Supply and Distribution evaluationThis report presents the findings from an evaluation of the Food Supply and Distribution strand of the wider Making Local Food Work (MLFW) Programme. The independent evaluation was undertaken by Dr Stuart Jones of the University of Glamorgan.

The MLFW programme distributed £10 million of lottery funding to support the development of a community enterprise approach to the local food sector through a number of different strands of activity. See www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk for more details.

As one of the strands within the MLFW programme, the Food Supply and Distribution strand provided funding to, and worked to support, nine ambitious and pioneering community food organisations around England. The aims of the strand were to:

  • Establish three local food distribution hubs, in Newham, Bridport and Gateshead
  • Establish a Community Food Centre, in Waltham Forest
  • Support supply chain brokerage of local food in East Anglia
  • Support the launch of a new enterprise in the Colne Valley trading in local food
  • Help local and sustainable food growers in Manchester to establish a food growing co-operative
  • Help establish Manchester Veg People, a pioneering co-operative between growers and buyers
  • Support the development and first stages of implementation of the Growing Communities Start-up programme
  • Share learning from local food enterprises and the Making Local Food Work programme with a wide range of enterprises and policy-makers, through a programme of learning and dissemination and through the Local Action on Food network run by Sustain
"The Food Supply & Distribution strand fundamentally achieved what it set out to do and indeed in many respects surpassed its initial objectives. The strand unquestionably succeeded in developing new social enterprise activities which facilitated the supply and distribution of significant quantities of local and sustainable food. In turn, the development of these activities can be seen to have generated a wide range of benefits for both the producers and consumers who engaged with them. Additionally the opportunities for innovation and experimentation created by the strand generated a wealth of learning about both the theory and practice of community food enterprises."

The report also concludes with a number of reflections and recommendations for future work to support community enterprises seeking to tackle social and environmental issues through the trade in local and sustainable food, covering:

  • The need to develop robust monitoring mechanisms in a timely fashion.
  • The need for funding mechanisms which are flexible and responsive to emerging needs and opportunities.
  • That it  can be difficult for community food enterprises to engage with producers and retailers within the mainstream food system.
  • The role of mutual support, shared values and networks.
  • The need for policy and funding support.
  • That social enterprise should not be considered a panacea.
Find out more about the work of the Food Supply & Distribution strand of Making Local Food Work via the following links: Local Action on Food and Making Local Food Work.

 


27/03/2012
Making Local Food Work

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