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Environmental and digital innovation in food: The role of digital food hubs in the creation of sustainable local agri-food systems


This document is based on the study of what a local digital food hub is. Topics such as the sustainability of agri-food systems, de-agrarianization and the causes related to them are covered, but also such principles as “shared value”, useful for improving the competitiveness of a company as well as the economical and social conditions within the communities in which it operates. In addition to these discussions, an excursus is created on the actual developments of the models ranging from “field to table”, with the new possibilities obtained from modern types of distribution networks, particularly focusing on Food Hubs and the first reasons for the validity of the system. Having explained these issues, the focus shifts exclusively to the Food Hub topic, defining what it is and what the models used for its different structures are, also based on the social and local contexts in which this reality is located or created. The results of the study highlight the presence of Food Hubs already developed and functioning in the USA, although they are almost non-existent in Europe and Italy where they could be a source of economic recovery in this sector, with the possibility of both digital and non-digital development. The presence of the only concrete example of a food hub in Italy is highlighted. Also, the current problems faced by Italian politics are considered regarding the possible legislative evolutions for the innovation and digitization of businesses, supported by the new financial programs envisaged by the “New Generation EU” European Plan, through which substantial funds have been allocated to Italy, also for the development of digital innovations and the enhancement of Italian products, as well as the “made in Italy” brand.