Local Food Challenge

Looking for innovators to develop solutions that help tackle food insecurity across London’s local communities

What is the Challenge?

Create a digital service that effectively manages the flow of food in Barnet, maximizes referrals (need) and supply (excess food/donations), and creates predictable patterns for and with local actors to more efficiently provide food to people who need it.



Focused on the London Borough of Barnet initially, however the system should be designed to be replicable across other boroughs in future.

Who are the end users?

All local food actors: community food projects and banks, local shops, restaurant and venue owners with excess food, and the donating public.

What impact are we seeking?

  • A more responsive flow of donations to existing food projects
  • More active engagement in local food need and community food projects
  • A better connected local food system
  • Open data to support understanding of the local food system


In the long term, the aim is to create a sustainable local food system that reduces food waste and meets the need of all people in food poverty or insecurity in Barnet – and able to support other local food systems to achieve the same aim.

What will the Resilience Partner provide?

  • Access to data about food demand and understanding of the operational needs of local food projects.
  • Understanding of the local food scene and the types of actors that are already engaged or are target audiences.
  • Information about food waste – its sources and examples of projects/approaches.

What does good look like?

A local food management system that enables those in the Barnet network community to log data, make requests, connect peer-to-peer, match donations with need and push out information to respond to predicted demand and crisis. It should be built initially as a tool that works across Barnet’s actors, but ultimately be easily transferable to work for other local/borough food systems.

Background information

  • Through Barnet Together, Groundwork London manages the Barnet Food Hub, supporting the local food bank network and supplying 15+ food banks, including Trussell Trust groups, charities and grassroots/faith groups.
  • Groundwork London’s supplies top up local food bank donations received from many sources – surplus food suppliers (Felix Project/ FareShare), restaurants, shops, businesses, organisations and public donations.  
  • Due to COVID-19, levels of food donation are high, but still do not meet demand. There is the need to promote donating, especially in the context of national food poverty and insecurity. 
  • Demand for food support is high and expected to rise. There is a lot of interest in how community food projects can contribute, from community cafes, allotments and holiday hunger support to community fridges. 
  • Per annum 640,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown away by households in London, not including food businesses, venues and restaurants
  • In Barnet alone 35,000 households experience food insecurity.

About the Resilience Partner

Groundwork London (GL) is a green community regeneration charity. Active for 30 years, each year delivering hundreds of community-driven programmes, from creating community gardens to helping 10,000s of households reduce water use. GL is part of Barnet Together, a partnership which unites local people, charities and businesses to innovate and thrive.