Local food: a solution or a tool? New ROBUST discussion paper is out

Fri 16 Oct 2020

The new discussion paper “How Local Is Local?” analyses whether the public plate could help the food and farming sector of Monmouthshire, Wales, to thrive.

Public procurement is recognised as a tool for keeping value in the local economy. Producers find reliable routes to market, and local government can strategically stimulate and shape markets.

Following this premise, ROBUST researchers in the new discussion paper “How Local Is Local?” analyse whether the public plate could help the food and farming sector of Monmouthshire, Wales, to thrive. The author team is led by Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins from Aberystwyth University & Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD).

While the answer to the guiding question is a qualified yes, the researchers point to four main reasons to be cautious. Indeed, local food can provide real opportunities – especially for SMEs – as part of a diverse mix of local, national and international markets. But procurement must balance offering local routes to market with sourcing sustainable, nutritious food. Thus, opportunities are matched with challenges and complex practicalities that require sophisticated handling.

Read the discussion paper here to know why the researchers argue that the local food is a tool, but not in itself a solution and how further strategic thinking about market opportunities can aid the food strategies of Monmouthshire and Wales in general.

Image: Fagiolo rosso (kidney beans) are an important local crop in Lucca, Italy, where ROBUST partners are also working on sustainable food systems. Traditional bean varieties inspire many local recipes – but definitions of ‘local’ can be as small as a single village, or as large as the whole Tuscan region. © Roberto Giomi.

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News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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