Glenn Woodcock, Co-Founder, South West Food Hub will attend and present for Members’ information. Please see attached link for more detail https://www.thesouthwestfoodhub.co.uk/
Councillor Sutton as Portfolio Holder Net Zero 2030 introduced Glenn Woodcock, Co-Founder of the South West Food Hub. She reminded Members that the City Council could not deliver the ambitions of Net Zero on its own, and the support of others was needed from within the city. Glenn would be able to show how the South West Food Hub directly relates to Goal 6 of the Net Zero Exeter Plan and the importance of the city’s relationship to the land and wider Devon rural economy. It would also help inform retailing on the High Street celebrating regional and local distinctiveness with an aspiration to include national brands, local crafts and produce with our high street shops, hotels, hospitals, local military bases, and prisons, buying food grown within Devon. The Hub would be able to take the initiative to effectively challenge the traditional way food was procured across the public sector to reduce the carbon impact, and to support the green economy.
Glenn Woodcock referred to the sum of over £1.2 billion, spent from the public purse on food supply within public sector establishments with the challenge now, being to address the buying habitats of individual procurement officers. The Food Hub have been working in partnership with the Crown Commercial Service, (CCS) the Government’s commercial buying arm to make that change and support the delivery of a new approach to public sector food procurement. As part of pilot, to be launched in spring 2022, with roll out nationally in 2023, the Food Hub will albeit on a small scale contribute towards developing a more sustainable local food industry. The aims include:-
· a sophisticated online platform and dynamic purchasing system for local food supply from small and medium sized businesses to sell directly to public sector institutions.
· positive buying of seasonal food from local farmers offering a more sustainable food supply.
· the buying power of Exeter’s institutions having a tangible and measurable impact on the local rural economy and foster a useful relationship between city and country, with every pound generating £3 of value.
Glenn made the following responses to Members’ questions:mmmmg-
· the Food Hub had not tendered for the pilot through any contractual arrangement, but had received limited funding.
· most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) did not have the scale to access large food supply contracts, but the new procurement platform will even out supply and offer an aggregated buying platform to create more certainty of sale for smaller producers.
· he welcomed elected representatives using their influence to promote food sustainability as widely as possible.
· he also welcomed the contribution the Council could exert and the offer of further engagement and dialogue.
The Chief Executive & Growth Director thanked Glenn for his presentation and referred to the opportunity to progress initiatives under the Net Zero 2030 Plan and engagement with Government on behalf of Exeter and the wider sub region in relation to the procurement platform. Part of the work should include working with businesses in Exeter from the supermarkets to the independent shops. There were challenges in ensuring informed choices and making the connection with retail and the provenance of locally grown food as well as ensuring a reduced carbon footprint.
Members also thanked Glenn for the presentation.