Belgian railway company SCNB is opening ten takeaway points for fresh and local produce in stations, giving people the possibility of picking up fruit and vegetable parcels and other local products when getting off the train, directly from local producers.
With this, SNCB wants to make the daily lives of travellers and local residents easier, encourage responsible consumption and support the local economy. The project will be launched in Schaerbeek (Brussels), Mol and Sint-Niklaas (both in Flanders), and Waremme, Braine-le-Comte, Jurbise, La Louviere-Sud, Leuze, Luttre, Saint-Ghislain (all in Wallonia).
The selected projects will offer a base of fruit and vegetables straight from the producer, or with at most one intermediary. The producers are experienced in short-chain sales, can offer fresh produce all year round and have a website where customers can order online. At least 70% of their produce comes from a radius of up to 30 km around the station.
The principle is simple: SNCB provides a space and concludes a contract with the producer, who then organises a pick-up stand in the station once a week, or installs a vending machine or secure lockers. These are pick-up points for products that were pre-ordered online.
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The initiative benefits travellers, producers and local residents alike: travellers avoid unnecessary travel by finding a pick-up point on their route. Producers can attract new customers, and local residents get a convenient service in a place they often know well and which is easily accessible.
That way, the station becomes even more firmly anchored in the urban fabric and adds life to the neighbourhood.
In May 2021, a pilot project took place in a number of stations, with positive reactions from customers and passengers and several local producers even applied spontaneously. In September 2022, SNCB launched a call for candidates to set up pick-up points in a larger number of stations.
More information about the different pick-up points can be found on the SNCB website.