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Launch of the South West Food Hub CIC

A collaborative food community to support the region’s food network and local economy.

The South West Food Hub Community Interest Company (CIC) is being launched this month to lead a collaborative food community to support the region’s food network to buy local and establish sustainable, shorter supply chains across the South West’s food sector, focusing primarily on public procurement.

Working as the Crown Commercial Service’s regional partner, the South West Food Hub will prepare the region for a pilot platform that will help shorten public procurement food supply chains. The pilot, a new dynamic purchasing platform, will open up public sector food procurement to local producers and suppliers. The South West Food Hub will work with anchor institutions such as schools and hospitals to mobilise the pilot, whilst supporting food and drink SMEs to meet entry criteria and prepare to supply through the new platform.

Dynamic public procurement is welcomed by the industry to shorten supply chains and enable public sector organisations better access to a rich and varied range of fantastic local produce.

James Cashmore, Deputy CEO of the Soil Association, the UK’s leading food and farming charity says ; “ Dynamic food procurement holds the prospect of creating shorter, more adaptable, more resilient supply chains, with fewer barriers to participation, particularly for local producers. Approaches such as this are needed now, more than ever.”

The initiative is supported by local organisations including the Heart of the South West LEP, the University of Exeter, Exeter City Futures, POM Support and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Alex Stevens, Regional Policy Manager at the NFU added; “We are a region united by food and a strong food and drink sector will be crucial to getting the economy back on track when life returns to normality. This project seeks to link the region’s food producers and farmers with outlets for their fantastic produce. NFU South West is excited to work alongside these
fantastic local companies and support the South West Food Hub.”

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the South West Food Hub is collaborating with PKF Francis Clark and Stephens Scown LLP to facilitate an anonymised ‘healthcheck’ for local food and drink businesses to understand how they are being affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Insights from this research will enable the Hub to influence key stakeholders and develop a coordinated regional support strategy. Local food and drink businesses are being invited to complete the survey here.

The South West Food Hub website is launching later this month, which will help create connections between buyers and sellers, provide information and resources and signpost services for the region’s diverse food community.Mary Quicke MBE,

Founder and MD of Quickes commented; ‘It’s lovely to see this local initiative connecting all the people who want great local food with all those people and small businesses who can accommodate supplying this food . Together, we can keep our gorgeous local food ecosystem in good shape.’

The South West Food Hub provides information and support for the regional food community, working in partnership with the Crown Commercial Service to develop and deploy a pilot platform which will open up public sector food procurement to the region’s food network, and establish sustainable, shorter supply chains.

Contact:   Website: (launching soon)


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      David Ralph

      Chief Executive

      David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

      Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

      David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.