Trying to put together the various supply chain studies and work being done in the region is a large task, and it is one that is fundamental to this developing network. There is work being done to develop regional food processing, identify cold storage, and integrate distribution options.
Does this mean a coordinated space(s), a food depot? Perhaps. We are primarily wanting to utilize existing resources wherever possible, especially from our regional partners.
However, as food for thought: I just received an email from a project in the UK that is investigating similar issues. The organisation, East Anglia Food Link, is working under the Making Local Food Work programme, to support and develop supply chains providing local food to community food outlets in London.
Early discussions with a number of producers and outlets suggest that a new local / organic produce depot / hub might fulfil a number of needs: particularly in providing viable access to London markets for producers (regional, peri-urban and urban) and ready access to local food for even the smallest community outlets.
The discussion paper discusses how such a depot might be shaped, developed and operated, and the benefits it might bring. EAFL notes that these are tentative ideas and says that any initiative of this kind must be shaped by the needs and ambitions of the producers and outlets it will serve. Ideally, ownership and control of any depot would ultimately be vested with these participants.