On the 17th of October Duncan travelled to Brussels to give a presentation at the European Commission on the Food Hub. More than 60 organisations from all over the EU were represented, but Duncan was one of only two delegates from England. The presentation was part of a workshop entitled ‘SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) Collaborating for Innovation along the Supply Chain’, so focused on these elements of the project and particularly the ‘Good Food for All’ scheme. Good Food for All will involve food business collaborating with partners in different sectors (healthcare, education and local government), which is in itself very rare, and will also lead towards a unique solution to the problems of health inequality and food poverty. Duncan also talked about our collaboration with Smithson Hill (another cross-sector partnership that defies conventional practice) and how this is resulting in a pioneering new design for a food store: one that minimises all the emissions and wastage usually associated with the food industry.
Another objective of attending the workshop was to try and join the ‘Rising Food Stars’ programme, an association of the 50 most promising food start-up businesses in Europe with a focus on food sustainability. Being accepted into this elite club presents many opportunities for collaborating and funding and luckily Duncan was able to talk to the director of the programme. The Food Hub project certainly meets the criteria for becoming a Rising Food Star, but being accepted is an incredibly competitive process so nothing is taken for granted.
Returning from Brussels was by no means the end of the adventure. Before catching the train back to Cambridge Duncan stopped off in London for a two-day ‘Future Food Tech’ conference.
It was a tremendous honour to be representing Cambridge at an event dedicated to innovation in food: if there is one thing Cambridge does well it is world-leading innovation. In the Food Hub, Cambridge has a project it can be proud of.