Food Hub Center
2014 National Food Hub Conference - Save the date!
The National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration's National Food Hub Conference will be March 26-28 in Raleigh, NC.
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|Regional Food Hub Resource Guide||Findings of the 2013 National Food Hub Survey|
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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
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
Common Market Participates in USDA Google+ Local Food Hangout
November 21, 2013
Study Hub Common Market participated in yesterday's Google+ Hangout on local and regional food systems and the #myfarmbill conversation, hosted by Elanor Starmer, USDA's National Coordinator for Local and Regional Food Systems and the coordinator of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Haile represented Common Market in the Hangout to speak about food hubs, recent funding through the USDA Community Food Project grant and GSK IMPACT award, and the issues resulting from Congress' failure to pass a farm bill. See a recording of the Hangout on the USDA Google+ page.
USDA Infographic: Food Hubs - Building Businesses and Sustaining Communities
November 20, 2013
The USDA published a new infographic highlighting the innovative role food hubs play in the food economy. The infographic pulls from the 2013 National Food Hub Survey and other USDA and Wallace Center projects, including Moving Food Along the Value Chain, the Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, and Building Successful Food Hubs.
November 15, 2013
One of the Wallace Center's Study Hubs, Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA, celebrated the 5th annual Farm to School week with samples of locally grown apples and cider at local elementary schools. “I don’t know if the kids understand just how much of the food in their lunch is from local sources,” said city schools spokeswoman Beth Cheuk. “It’s not just today. They have these foods every day.”
Vilsack: All Americans Benefit from Local and Regional Markets
November 15, 2013
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed on his blog this week the importance of local and regional markets, from farmers markets to food hubs, and the government's role in encouraging and funding these projects. Local and regional markets benefit farmers and ranchers when they gain access to new and expanded markets; families by increasing the availability of healthy and locally-produced food; low-income communities by increasing opportunities for SNAP redemption at farmers market; and eaters everywhere by encouraging new and beginning farmers. Vilsack also discussed the importance of passing the Farm Bill to continue the support of local and regional food. To help show the rapid growth of local food markets across the country, USDA created the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food compass, an online tool showing the many places USDA has supported these opportunities.
Local Food Hub Efforts Grow
November 14, 2013
The Galesburg, IL Register-Mail announced the collective effort between several Galesburg parties is moving forward in its plans to bring a food hub to the community. As a result of many community discussions, it was realized that the project would only come to fruition as an organized collaboration. The group is made up of a few local growers, buyers and other interested parties, and met last week to hear the results of a feasibility study, considered by many to be one of the most important steps toward eventually implementing a food hub.
Facilities in Development to Help Local Farmers
November 13, 2013
The Daily Iowan reported that a new Food Enterprise Center or Food Hub is in development with the goal of increasing farmers' financial sustainability. Jason Grimm, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development food-system planner, was awarded a block grant last year by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors to work with Jesse Singerman of Prairie Ventures to research the local food industry. The report discussed the possibility of a new Food Enterprise Center or Food Hub in Johnson or Linn County. Singerman said these facilities have different, but equally important, functions. A Food Enterprise Center would provide needed infrastructure for food processing and food preparation, including kitchens, food prep rooms, and cooled storage. A Food Hub would handle the distribution and aggregation of local foods, making them more available to the consumer.Grimm and Singerman are currently working on a proposed planning grant to the Leopold Center at Iowa State University. This grant would fund research to decide whether a facility of this type is feasible in the Johnson County area.
October 29, 2013
The UP Food Exchange is a great example of organizations banding together to bring local food to a broader audience. Organizations such as food hubs and food hub networks often need funding to get started or to carry out their mission, and with millions of dollars in state and federal funding tied to increasing the availability of local food, they just need to know where to look.
October 25, 2013
The former Navy commissary building in Topsham, ME, left vacant for two years due to the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station, is on the verge of major redevelopment pending signatures on leases with two companies that hope to create a local food hub; Wicked Joe Coffee, currently located on Water Street in Brunswick, and Maine Harvest Company are finalizing funding to move into the former commissary.
October 21, 2013
The Field & Fork Network has received $175,000 funding from Farm Credit Northeast and the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Fund to start a planning and feasibility study for a five-county region — Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties in New York state. Field & Fork Network will work with Chicago-based New Venture Advisors and Cornell University’s Harvest NY team to execute the food hub project. New Venture Advisors has worked on 13 food hub ventures across the United States since 2009. Harvest NY’s goal is to support new agricultural economic development opportunities in Western New York. “Of the 7,500 farms that exist in Western New York, more than 88 percent are considered small farms. And many grow and raise outstanding agriculture products. Unfortunately, due to market constraints, these farmers have been left out of the wholesale market,” says Field & Fork director Tucker said. “We expect this project to address and eventually mitigate those market barriers for both farmers and for institutional buyers who want to source local products.”
October 21, 2013
The Field & Fork Network has received $175,000 funding from Farm Credit Northeast and the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Fund to fund a feasibility study that will entail analysis of the market, agriculture production and infrastructure in Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. “Of the 7,500 farms that exist in Western New York, more than 88 percent are considered small farms. And many grow and raise outstanding agriculture products. Unfortunately, due to market constraints, these farmers have been left out of the wholesale market,” says Lisa Tucker, co-founder and director. “We expect this project to address and eventually mitigate those market barriers for both farmers and for institutional buyers who want to source local products.”
October 20, 2013
In the face of the obviously broken food system, there are many examples of good food systems in the making, with food hubs as one strong example among many. From the Huffington Post: "Agroecologically-managed smallholder farms like those in Latin America's Campesino a Campesino Movement increase yields; conserve soil, water and biodiversity; and capture carbon to cool the planet. Urban farms from Havana to Bangkok are steadily increasing food production and improving livelihoods. Community-supported Agriculture groups around the world provide fresh, healthy food for members and a living income for local family farmers. Hundreds of municipal Food Policy Councils and Food Hubs are implementing citizen-driven initiatives to keep the food dollar in the community where it can recycle up to five times, thereby creating jobs and kick-starting local economic development. What do all these efforts have in common? They are grounded in sustainable, equitable and dignified livelihoods. Food security is ensured by citizens' democratic control over their food system, what many food activists are calling: food sovereignty."
October 10, 2013
St. Louis Food Hub announced it will open a new full-service grocery store that features locally grown foods from farms that practice sustainable agriculture. In addition to local fare, Fields Foods will sell a large selection of gluten-free, organic and non-genetically modified foods. The 37,000-square-foot building features extensive retail space, a wine and beer bar, and specialized sections for seafood, cheeses, meats and prepared foods. Fields Foods is set to open in January, 2014 near Lafayette Square in the heart of St. Louis, and the owners plan to replicate their concept where there is a scarcity of healthful grocery stores.
October 9, 2014
A local developer in Orlando works to open a new food hub on the East Side that centers around community learning and engagement in local foods. The plan is to house roughly a dozen merchants, a restaurant, and a variety of spaces to encourage new entrepreneurship. It will be a community learning center, a food hub for the quality-conscious, and an event spot for gatherings and special occasions.
October 3, 2013
As demand increases for locally grown products, food centers or hubs are thriving, based on the recent survey coordinated by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the Wallace Center. Of the hubs that participated in the 2013 National Food Hub Survey — the largest national survey of food hubs to date — 95 percent reported an increase in demand for their products and services. The hubs actively manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of local and regional food products. “More markets — such as restaurants, K-12 schools, and small grocery stores — are requesting local food in larger volumes than individual small and mid-size farmers can individually supply,” says Rich Pirog, senior associate director of the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and co-convener of the Michigan Food Hub Network. “Food hubs are part of the evolution of the local food movement. They are playing a role in getting more ‘source-identified' food out to a demanding public.”
October 1, 2013
The Food Safety Modernization Act set safety standards on how farmers grow, harvest and handle fresh produce to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases, including testing for water safety and better managing manure storage. Small farms (those with under $25,000 in annual food sales) are exempted from these federal regulations, but distributors and grocery stores are increasingly implementing their own separate standards on food safety, adding to the confusion and concern about the requirements coming down the line. According to Penn State researchers, agricultural extension educators can help teach farmers about the changing landscape of food safety regulations. "We should try to focus on creating programs for growers so that they can do what they need to do economically to stay viable as they face new regulations and standards that can be complex and intimidating," said Daniel Tobin, doctoral candidate in agricultural economics, sociology and education.
Save the Date: National Food Hub Conference: March 26-28, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina
Mark your calendars! The Wallace Center and NGFN Food Hub Collaboration will host a National Food Hub Conference March 26-28, 2014 in Raleigh, NC. There will be pre-conference tours, compelling panels and speakers, and plenty of opportunities for networking. If you missed our 2012 National Food Hub Conference, you can read the proceedings here. More details will be announced soon.
Assistance for Food Hubs: Database of Consultants
The NGFN database contains contact information for many consultants across the country. Hubs, and those looking to assist them should use this as a resource for finding help.
Are you a consultant?
Then you should be listed in our database. It's simple. Enter yourself in our database now.
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.
MAP KEY: Large green markers indicate NGFN Food Hub Collaboration Study Hubs.
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.