More progress on Edinburgh Adapts as students present Community Food Hubs report to MSPs at Scottish Parliament
On 29 March 2017, Alison Johnstone MSP invited stakeholders to the Scottish Parliament to hear the students of Participation in Policy & Planning (PPP) present the key findings from their research into the potential for developing a community food hub in North Edinburgh. The full report of the research can be downloaded here.
PPP is a Master’s course at the University of Edinburgh that aims to introduce students to the theory and practice of participatory decision-making for sustainability. At the heart of PPP is an emphasis on the power of experiential learning. At the start of the course, the students are set a ‘real life’ participatory challenge that they must tackle as a group throughout the semester on behalf of a local organisation.
This year Adaptation Scotland joined Nourish Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council in asking the 28 PPP students to investigate the potential for a community food hub in North Edinburgh. This project was designed to contribute to the Edinburgh Adapts 'Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan', launched in December 2016, as well as help Edinburgh move towards achieving a Sustainable Food Cities Bronze Award, and support the campaign for food justice in Scotland.
The students were set two specific aims:
- To explore stakeholders' perspectives on the opportunities for developing a community food hub in North Edinburgh; and
- To develop evidence-based recommendations for how the project clients could develop community food hubs that serve the needs of all stakeholders.
A total of 55 stakeholders were interviewed (a full list of organisations interviewed can be found below) to gather views on what a community food hub could or should look like, and any barriers to implementing this in practice.
The interviews generated a large amount of data that encompassed a diversity of ideas and perspectives. After analysing the results, the students identified six priority issues for community food hubs raised by the interviewees:
- Building communities
- Promoting education
- Encouraging behaviour change
- Addressing sustainability and climate change
- Creating and strengthening networks
- Providing a space
The students also highlighted that there are many organisations already working on these issues, and created an interactive map of 72 relevant initiatives in North Edinburgh. This map provides a tool for users to quickly see where activity is taking place – and where it isn’t – to help better understand where a community food hub might be of most benefit.
Based on their findings, the students recommended that building and strengthening networks between existing organisations was vital. By working together, initiatives can share the skills, resources, and space that will help deliver many of the core aspects of stakeholders’ visions of a community food hub.
List of organisations interviewed
Bethany Christian Trust
City of Edinburgh Council
Community Food and Health Scotland
Edinburgh Community Food
Edinburgh Living Landscapes
Edinburgh NE Foodbank
ELREC: Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council
FEDAGA: Federation of Edinburgh & District Allotments & Gardens Associations
Food For Life
Food Sharing Edinburgh
Granton Community Gardeners
Hugh Grierson Organics
James Hutton Institute
Keep Scotland Beautiful
Leith Community Crops in Pots
Leith Food Assembly
Pilton Community Health Project
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland Food and Drink Federation
Scottish Community Alliance
Scottish Food Coalition
Slow Food Edinburgh
Stockbridge and Leith Markets
The Ripple Project
Transition Edinburgh South
University of Edinburgh