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Posted on 24th March 2022

Rural models of affordable food provision

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Across the Feeding Britain network, our partners are finding innovative ways to provide affordable nutritious food to rural communities, tackling issues of accessibility as well as affordability. This blog provides a summary of some of the models currently in operation. 

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Feeding Devon: Dartmoor pop-up food hubs

A former supermarket delivery vehicle brings a range of fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient items to community buildings, which act as Food Hubs, at set times of the week in four Dartmoor villages where isolation often compounds low household income: Bovey Tracey, Horrabridge, Princetown, and Sherford. Feeding Devon are planning to expand this service to up to nine Food Hubs. 

Households can choose from a selection of pre-packed food boxes, or can choose individual items from the pop-up food club trestle tables in each venue. They pay an average of £5 for £15 worth of food. As of November 2021, there was a collective membership of 70 households. Much of the food is sourced from Devon and Cornwall Food Action, a redistributor of surplus stock from retailers’ supply chains.

Feeding Derbyshire: Community pantries

Community Pantries have been established in Eckington, Hurst Farm, Chesterfield, Shirebrook, and Bolsover. Among the first four sites, it was anticipated that by the end of 2021 they would have a collective membership of 160 households. They had instead registered more than four times that number (670). One of the sites had previously operated as a food bank but managed successfully to transition 120 households over to the Community Pantry. It was, as a result, able to cease operating the food bank. Households pay an average of £5 for at least £20 worth of food, much of which comes from FareShare and His Church. 

Cornwall Food Access Alliance: Treverbyn Food Club

The Treverbyn Food Club operates across 13 community sites where a collective total of 126 members pay an average weekly sum of £4.50 for £9 worth of food. Ambient goods are purchased from wholesale routes and a FareShare application is currently being processed. Fresh fruit and vegetables that have been gleaned from nearby farms, as well as surplus bakery products that are donated to the project, are made available for free. 

Feeding Coventry: North Warwickshire Mobile Pantry

While the city of Coventry is now served by eight Community Supermarkets, the Feeding Coventry team have recently taken the principles that underpin this programme and, with support from Warwickshire County Council, used them to develop the North Warwickshire Mobile Pantry. It consists of a repurposed former St John Ambulance vehicle which enables members to choose from a range of fresh, chilled, and ambient food. Its pilot phase began with stops in New Arley and Camp Hill, near Nuneaton. 

Nourishing Norfolk: Breckland Food Bus

While Community Supermarkets have been established in the larger settlements such as Norwich, Thetford, and Great Yarmouth, the aim of the Breckland Food Bus is to stop at community buildings in some of the more remote villages in Norfolk to offer an equivalent service consisting of affordable food and wraparound support with debt management, mental health, and wellbeing. Breckland District Council, Norfolk Community Foundation, Feeding Britain, and Kickstart Mopeds have partnered to steer and deliver the project which will operate from a former mobile library vehicle. 

Somerset: DeliverRural Mobile Pantry

A van and trailer will soon be stopping at locations in the Ten Parishes, a largely remote rural area around Wiveliscombe, to offer a range of fresh, chilled, and ambient items worth at least £10, for £3.50. Membership will be offered to all who feel they could benefit from this service. Wivey Cares and Feeding Britain have partnered to steer and deliver the project.