Cambridge Sustainable Food Hub


A local food centre dedicated to sustainability’

Cambridge Sustainable Food is committed to creating a Sustainable Food Hub somewhere in or around Cambridge. This project will have a significant and positive impact both on the area in which it is located and the wider Cambridge area; enabling exciting new food businesses to start up and helping to meet many of the food-related and social objectives that CSF has targeted.

What is the Food Hub?

Encouraging success, financial viability and competitiveness in the local food businesses community will be the most effective way of promoting sustainable food in Cambridge. Essentially the Food Hub will be a permanent venue which will bring together the very best local sustainable food enterprises and give them an opportunity to reduce overheads through affordable rent, the ability to rent space and facilities according to requirements, and shared distribution. These businesses will have a plentiful supply of fresh, local ingredients to work with.

The food traded and distributed at the Food Hub will be local and sustainably produced. Its route to market will be direct, bringing significantly reduced wastage, food miles and costs.

Local residents will benefit from a retail outlet, café and community space. The wider Cambridge area will be served by a home delivery service and distribution of food to retail outlets and catering establishments around the city. The facilities will be available for ‘one-off’ bookings as well, making the Food Hub an ideal venue for educational and training purposes, community functions, pop-up dining events, indoor farmers’ markets and conferencing.

Why a Food Hub?

Cambridge is already a great place to find sustainable food; the Sustainable Food Cities bronze award achieved by CSF clearly demonstrates this. Our vision, however, is for something much more ambitious. The scope and scale of the Food Hub project will mean that locally and sustainably produced food can become a prevailing characteristic of city life, and build on Cambridge’s reputation as a forward-thinking sustainable city.

There are three key factors that prevent Cambridge from excelling as a sustainable food city: the high cost of commercial property is a barrier to the creation of new food businesses; the existing distribution infrastructure for local and sustainably produced food is unable to satisfy the procurement demands of large scale catering establishments; and finally, a widening gap between those people who can, and cannot, afford to buy healthy and sustainably produced food. All of these issues will be addressed by the Food Hub project.

Who will benefit?

The Food Hub will be for the benefit of everyone in Cambridge: we all need good food. The creation of the Food Hub will result in a thriving local food economy, a reduced burden on the local health service through better diet, and a paradigm shift towards sustainability in our food system.

The Food Hub will be of particular benefit to those small businesses and social enterprises who will use the Hub’s facilities directly, and all the local food producers, farmers, shops, cafés and other local businesses who trade with these companies.

In real terms, what outputs can you expect the Food Hub to provide?Food Hub cyclist 1 copy

  • A wide range of quality, healthy and sustainably produced food, both fresh and prepared, that arrive on your plate, or your local shop, or even canteen at work, with the smallest possible ecological footprint.
  • A distribution network that can meet the demands of restaurants, shops and catering establishments who would source local sustainable food given realistic opportunities to do so.
  • Healthy and sustainably produced food made accessible to low-income households.
  • Training and apprenticeship opportunities for people who want to work with sustainable food.
  • The creation of jobs and a working environment that promotes health and well-being for employees. Living Wage accreditation will be a requirement of all Food Hub businesses.
  • A full package of business incubation services providing start-up businesses with every opportunity to succeed.

Who is behind this project?

Cambridge Sustainable Food has appointed a task force to realise the Food Hub project, which is led by Duncan Catchpole, Managing Director of The Cambridge Organic Food Co. (COFCO), treasurer of Cambridge Sustainable Food and current holder of the Living Wage Champion award for the East of England. COFCO is one of the most successful enterprises of its type in the UK and having it located at the Food Hub will contribute significantly to the success of this project.

Will you support our crowd-funding campaign?

This is undoubtedly an ambitious project, but it is an achievable one. We are aiming to raise upwards of £150,000 through crowd-funding, and if we are successful we will be able to acquire and develop the most appropriate premises. If you feel inspired to support this project, then we will reward your good faith by endeavouring to create a Food Hub that the whole of Cambridge can be proud of.

To raise the money we are asking people to purchase a ‘Friend of the Food Hub’ membership for £100. As a ‘Friend of the Food Hub’ you will be entitled to a lifelong discount of 10% on all purchases from the Food Hub. If you were to spend £20 per week in the hub your membership would pay for itself in a year. So not only will you be supporting a worthy project, it will be a good investment too.

If you wish to contribute a greater amount than the ‘Friend of the Food Hub’ purchase price then for every additional £100 we will issue a ‘Friend of the Food Hub’ membership to two local low-income households.

To become a Friend of the Food Hub, email Duncan Catchpole saying “I would like to become a Friend of the Food Hub.” For the time being no money will be required and you will be contacted at a later stage.

Click here to view the Cambridge Food Hub leaflet, and follow Cambridge Sustainable Food on Facebook and @Cam_Food_Hub on Twitter to keep up with the latest news.