Food Hub Center
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|Regional Food Hub Resource Guide||Findings of the 2013 National Food Hub Survey||Wholesome Wave's Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit|
What is a food hub?
A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.
Red Tomato created this informative video on what a food hub does:
The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration supports the success of existing and developing hubs. Read a summary of our approach.
Research & Resources
- Look in the left sidebar for a list of some of the best papers and presentations on food hubs. Or click here for titles and descriptions.
- The Making Good Food Work conference website has a great set of resources here and here.
- The Sustainable Agriculture and Research Program (SAREP) at UC Davis has many resources on food hubs and values-based supply chains.
- Financing Healthy Food Options Resource Bank from the US Treasury CDFI Fund
- 2013 Food Hub Benchmarking Report
The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration has selected nine Study Hubs from across the country to broadly inform the strategies and activities of food hubs nationwide. We will work closely with these food hubs and report extensively on their progress so that we may all learn from their models, challenges, and successes. As a group, the Study Hubs represent a balance of model and legal structure, age of enterprise, scale, markets served, and region of the country. Learn more about these innovators.
Some webinars we've hosted relevant to food hubs.
- Production Planning to Increase Market Efficiency: Reducing Financial Risk Through Food Hubs
- Food Systems Networks That Work - Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce
- Financing Food Hubs: Dozens of Ideas to Access Capital
- Clearing the Roadblocks: Market Based Strategies for Getting Good Food to All Communities
- Food Hubs: Viable Regional Distribution Solutions
- Leveraging Existing Infrastructure for Significant Food System Change: Food Hubs, Regional Distribution, Farm to School, and more
- The Business of Food Hubs: Planning Successful Regional Produce Aggregation Facilities
- Community Food Enterprise
- Innovations in Value Chain Infrastructure-Red Tomato
- Aggregation/Distribution: Appalachian Sustainable Development
Excellent Partner Webinars
- Food Hubs: What are They? Why do They Matter to the Northeast? from Farm Credit East
Winters seeks input on building economic engine, food hub in Yolo County
June 13, 2014
The mayor of Winters, CA wants to capitalize on its long growing season, vital agricultural infrastructure, and excellent soil to help local farms, ranches, and orchards add value to the county’s commodities rather than just shipping them out of the area. A research study is now being prepared to address the possibilities of combining processing, manufacturing, packing, and distribution to become a true agricultural hub.
Reclaiming the Abandoned: Ohio Valley Grows Local Food Economy
June 12, 2014
A small group of young people in the Ohio Valley is spearheading several local foods initiatives in the hope of improving the area's abandoned and impoverished areas, and has been awarded a couple hundred thousand dollars to help make their dream of healthier community a reality. Grow Ohio Valley is "fundamentally about growing and distributing quality foods into neighborhoods, and teaching people, especially kids, where and how that food is made," says Danny Swan, co-founder. After completing a study that outlined the region’s potential to develop a local food economy, GrowOV is putting ideas in motion. Read more about their plans here.
Vilsack Announces Local Food, Local Places
June 9, 2014
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Local Food, Local Places, a federal initiative that will provide direct technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community's economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet a variety of needs.
40 Maps That Explain Food in America
June 9, 2014
"The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves", wrote the French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826. Almost 200 years later, how nations feed themselves has gotten a lot more complicated. That’s particularly true in the US, where food insecurity coexists with an obesity crisis, where fast food is everywhere and farmer’s markets are spreading, where foodies have never had more power and McDonald’s has never had more locations, and where the possibility of a barbecue-based civil war is always near. So here are 40 maps, charts, and graphs that show where our food comes from and how we eat it, with some drinking thrown in for good measure.
Considering a Food Hub in Northeast Kansas
June 2, 2014
Yesterday, Elliot Hughes, Lawrence Journal-World, reported, “Although there are risks, researchers on Monday gave their thumbs up for pursuing a "food hub" that would collect and distribute produce from northeast Kansas farmers.
“The results of a survey, conducted by SCALE, Inc., to determine the viability of such an enterprise, were presented to an audience of 40 farmers, restaurateurs and other professionals at the Douglas County Extension Office.
“The study determined there to be a "critical gaps" in existing infrastructure, but said that the demand for locally grown foods, although varied across the region, exceeds the current supply. The full study can be found at www.douglas-county.com.
Ripe for Grocers: The Local Food Movement
Grocery shoppers today want local food—and they are willing to pay a premium for it. AT Kearney's second annual study of local food market examines this growing opportunity for retailers. The study finds that local food is fast becoming a necessity for attracting and maintaining customers. A growing number of shoppers, seeking more sustainable foods and hoping to help the local economy, say that the availability of local food is an important factor in what they buy and where they buy it. And, importantly, more shoppers say that they think more highly of retailers that carry local food and have even considered switching retailers to find better local selections. For big-box retailers and other national chains, there is plenty of work to be done to incorporate local foods, as the market remains dominated by farmer’s markets and specialty retailers. Read the article here.
Roundy's Embraces Trend for Fresh Local Produce
May 20, 2014
Milwaukee-based grocery chain Roundy's is building their relationship with the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative to increase the amount of locally-grown food sold through the stores. Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, a retail consulting business, says that the trend of consumers increasingly asking for fresh, unprocessed foods shows no signs of slowing, and that it is part of an overall lifestyle emphasis on personal health and environmental sustainability: "It's still something that is gathering momentum. [Roundy's is] not too late to the party by any stretch of the imagination."
The Added Value of Local Food Hubs
May 20, 2014
A pilot program in Santa Barbara, CA is showing how the challenge of getting local and organic produce into institutional settings can grow into mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and eaters. UC Santa Barbara, the largest wholesale produce purchaser in Santa Barbara County was the perfect avenue for the project: the school sits in a region booming with local produce and a student initiative demanded more local food on campus, while local farmers needed a food hub to wholesale their produce to local institutional buyers. Farmer Direct Produce (FDP) — now Harvest Santa Barbara — filled that gap by serving as the wholesale link between farmers and UCSB and other outlets. Read more about the project.
Four USDA Grants Advance Regional Food Systems Research at MSU
May 8, 2014
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems has been awarded four grants, totaling $1.95 million, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The grants, made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, will support much needed research on local and regional food systems in Michigan. Rich Pirog, CRFS senior associate director, and Judith Barry, CRFS academic specialist, will manage the development of a public-private workgroup model to increase the viability of small and midsized livestock producers in Michigan who want to supply local and regional markets with high-quality meat products.
USDA Announces Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Webinars
May 8, 2014
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program has announced two competitive grants: the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and is offering two separate webinars for potential applicants to learn more about eligibility and the application process. There is no need to pre-register, just visit the appropriate webpage and click the webinar link at the bottom of the page. See the Press Release for more information on both programs.
- LFPP Webinar: May 14, 2014, 2pm-3:30pm Eastern Time
- FMPP Webinar: May 13, 2014, 10:30 am-11:30 am Eastern Time
Assistance for Food Hubs: Consultant Database
The Wallace Center maintains a database of technical assistance providers to help us facilitate technical assistance to community based businesses and organizations.
Are you a consultant? You can submit your most recent CV for our Professional Register through this announcement.
Are you in need of technical assistance or food systems consulting? Please contact us for more information about our consultant matchmaking assistance.
USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Regional Food Hub Subcommittee created an edited selection of USDA programs that have previously supported regional food hubs, with examples of funded projects.
Sorted by state. Are we missing any? Please let us know!
The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration is a partnership between Wallace Center at Winrock International, USDA, National Good Food Network, and others including Wholesome Wave, Farm Credit Council, Michigan State University, National Farm to School Network and School Food FOCUS. The Collaboration is working to ensure the success of existing and emerging food hubs in the US by building capacity through connection, outreach, research, technical assistance and partnerships. By supporting this crucial player in the value chain we aim to accelerate the growth of regional food systems that make healthy and affordable food available to all communities while fostering viable markets of scale for regionally focused producers.