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.

You can read more about the Edinburgh Adapts project here.

List of organisations interviewed

Bethany Christian Trust




City of Edinburgh Council

Community Food and Health Scotland



Edible Estates

Edinburgh Community Food

Edinburgh Larder

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

Food Train

Granton Community Gardeners

Hugh Grierson Organics


James Hutton Institute

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Leith Community Crops in Pots

Leith Food Assembly

Meadowsweet Organics

Nourish Scotland

Ostara Café

Pilton Community Health Project

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Scotland Food and Drink Federation

Scottish Community Alliance

Scottish Food Coalition

Scottish Government


Slow Food Edinburgh

Soil Association

Stockbridge and Leith Markets

The Ripple Project

Transition Edinburgh South


University of Edinburgh