Thanks @CharlyeW I agree – this is the essence of the Open Food Network. More and more producers and hubs are setting up across the UK. Have you seen the OFN map recently? And the more populated the Network becomes, the more opportunities there are for the links you describe.
Kent Farmers’ Market Association are planning to use the Open Food Network as a click and collect service for their markets. This will make it even easier for your Country Market hubs to link up with local producers because all those producers will already be set up on OFN and all you will need to do is set up an enterprise relationship with them to add their products to your shopfront.
The other benefit of linking up to farmers’ markets is that the farmers are travelling in to the market from the surrounding rural areas and travelling back with empty vans. They are starting to make use of that empty space to take back boxes of pre-ordered produce from the hubs to their farms and offer a local collection service to homes and villages near their farms. This massively extends the geographical reach of the market and gives more people access to local produce whilst reducing food miles. It also gives the farmer an additional small income by charging for the pick-up point service within OFN.
Yes I will try to involve the likes of Country File and Farming Today in this conversation.