Tyne Fresh: Creating food democracy through a local food hub

Digital Sustainability

Abstract

Tyne Fresh is a local food hub bringing together a community centre and local vendors to explore how participatory design can contribute to a more democratic food system.

Method

The food hub uses the Open Food Network, and created collaborations between Meadow Well Connected, local bakers, butchers and a local branch of the YMCA.

Takeaways

Since it launched in 2018, Tyne Fresh has attracted hundreds of customers with weekly deliveries of fresh local produce.

Tyne Fresh is a local food hub bringing together a community centre and local vendors to explore how participatory design can contribute to a more democratic food system. Open Lab worked with Meadow Well Connected, a community centre based in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, to provide a new service for many residents centred on food.

The food hub uses the Open Food Network, and created collaborations between Meadow Well Connected, local bakers, butchers and a local branch of the YMCA. The project has also involved education and activities like cooking classes and youth clubs to bring the whole community together.

Tyne Fresh works by local residents ordering their food online or over the phone and picking up their food from the community centre. This comes as meal boxes with recipes included or as individual items.

Tyne Fresh shows that a more democratic and participatory local food system can start with the local community. But for this to work, organisations need to pull together and draw on all of the resources available to them. There’s also lots of questions about how to keep up momentum and tackle the challenges of food inequalities in deprived neighbourhoods head-on.

The success of Tyne Fresh shows us what is possible by creating long-term and open relationships between research institutions and community partners, and indicates that systematic change towards a “food democracy” might indeed be ours for the taking.

Tyne Fresh provided meal boxes with recipes included or as individual items.
Tyne Fresh provided meal boxes with recipes included or as individual items.

Highlights

  • The Tyne Fresh project has involved setting up a new food hub on-the-ground in Meadow Well, a close-knit neighbourhood in North Tyneside. The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the North Shields Business Chamber.
  • Since it launched in 2018, Tyne Fresh has attracted hundreds of customers with weekly deliveries of fresh local produce.
  • Tyne Fresh has been delivered in partnership with Meadow Well Connected, a charity at the heart of a thriving local community. It’s also brought people closer together through a programme of activities including cookery classes, youth groups and volunteer sessions.

Publications

Food democracy in the making: Designing with local food networks

  1. Prost S
  2. Crivellaro C
  3. Haddon A
  4. Comber R

2018Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18)

Infrastructuring Food Democracy: The Formation of a Local Food Hub in the Context of Socio-Economic Deprivation

  1. Prost S
  2. Vlachokyriakos V
  3. Midgley J
  4. Heron G
  5. Meziant K
  6. Crivellaro C

2019Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction