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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Food Hub

Gardeners in DeKalb County, Illinois Set Their Sights on Food Hub

April 23, 2015 |
Greenhouse-grown plants are almost ready to be planted outside in DeKalb County, Illinois. Several people with DeKalb County Community Gardens are exploring the possibility of a new food hub in DeKalb County. (photo courtesy of Dan Kenney/DeKalb County Community Gardens)

Greenhouse-grown plants are almost ready to be planted outside in DeKalb County, Illinois. Several people with DeKalb County Community Gardens are exploring the possibility of a new food hub in DeKalb County. (photo courtesy of Dan Kenney/DeKalb County Community Gardens)

A possible new food hub is on the horizon in DeKalb, Illinois.

Dan Kenney of DeKalb County Community Gardens came up with the idea after seeing the success of community gardens in the county. The countywide community garden project kicked off in 2012, and now boasts 40 different locations.

“We try to promote local food and local farmers, and we heard that food hubs are a key component in local food,” Kenney says.

He believes that a food hub located in DeKalb County, located west of Chicago in the northern part of the state, would have a major advantage just due to its geographic location. Interstate 88 (which runs east and west) and Interstate 39 (north and south) traverse through the county, which is in relative close proximity to Chicago, the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and the Mississippi River. Kenney is also encouraged at the success of food hubs elsewhere in the state, including Peoria and Chicago. Read More

Women in Food: Gwen Garcelon Works to Build Local Food System in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley

February 9, 2015 |

GwenGarcelonRoaring Fork Food Policy Council Founder and Director Gwen Garcelon has a lot of experience trying to effect change on complex issues. For ten years, she worked as a grassroots organizer for the D.C. based nonprofit Results, trying to end world hunger and poverty. Although she was laid off from this position when the recession hit in 2008, she has not lost her drive to tackle complicated and seemingly intractable issues. Most recently, she has set her sights on one of the most complex yet pressing issues we face: creating a more sustainable food system. Read More

Chronicling the Rise of a Food Hub Network: Michigan State University Releases Case Study

January 12, 2015 |
The Washtenaw Food Hub in Michigan is full of life as The Brinery crew processes carrots for their lacto-fermented “Jape Kin Cod” pickles. (photo by Kim Bayer)

The Washtenaw Food Hub in Michigan is full of life as The Brinery crew processes carrots for their lacto-fermented “Jape Kin Cod” pickles. (photo by Kim Bayer)

A recently-released case study, published by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, chronicles the creation, growth and lessons learned of the two-and-a-half year old Michigan Food Hub Network.

Titled “A Case Study in Building Effective Networks for Food System Change,” the publication tells the story of how and why various food hubs came together to build the Michigan Food Hub Network, according to Rich Pirog, senior associate director of the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. It was also part of the requirement for the grant funding the network receives. Read More

Orlando Farmers’ Market Offers Full Local Food Experience

January 7, 2015 |
Patrons of East End Market in Orlando, Florida gather for a harvest dinner. (photo courtesy of Heather Grove/East End Market)

Patrons of East End Market in Orlando, Florida gather for a harvest dinner. (photo courtesy of Heather Grove/East End Market)

In a city known for recreation and tourism, Orlando’s East End Market offers its own attractions with chefs, artists, shops and a restaurant.

And this Central Florida food destination offers even more—in addition to its market, entertainment and education draws, East End Market is also a food hub, complete with educational opportunities and an incubator kitchen. Read More

Are We Living in a Food Hub Bubble?

December 9, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Mad River Food Hub

Photo courtesy of Mad River Food Hub

Regional food hubs have become all the rage in the past year among local foods advocates. These startups promote local food system development by offering aggregation and distribution services to farmers, food producers and vendors around the country.

The glowing media coverage they often receive for this and their increasing numbers suggest food hubs are an idea whose time has come. But can they survive in the long term?

A Growing Movement

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear the movement’s definitely developed momentum over the past few years.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, their ranks grew 65 percent between 2009 and 2013, jumping from around 140 different establishments to over 230. The agency now identifies approximately 300 operating throughout the United States. Read More

Local Food Hub Works on Getting Beyond Commodity Corn in The Hoosier State

October 22, 2014 |
Image courtesy of Husk

Image courtesy of Husk

That sweet corn at your nearest supermarket chain probably was not grown locally. In all likelihood, neither were the green beans, lettuce or apples.

Husk is trying to change that. With headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana the startup is aiming to make sure locally-produced food at supermarkets and not just farmers’ markets.

Founded in 2013 by Nick Carter, Adam Moody and Chris Baggott, Husk is is creating a local foods system, complete with farming partners, a processing and distribution facility, and store. Only local farmers grow produce for Husk, and Husk products only sell at local and regional markets. Read More

Ten U.S. Food Hubs Making the Local Connection

October 1, 2014 |
Puget Sound Food Hub 3—Workers load up a truck last winter at Bow Hill Blueberries, one of three Puget Sound Food Hub aggregation and distribution partners.  photo courtesy of Harley Soltes

Puget Sound Food Hub 3—Workers load up a truck last winter at Bow Hill Blueberries, one of three Puget Sound Food Hub aggregation and distribution partners. photo courtesy of Harley Soltes

A college in central Pennsylvania wants to buy food from local farmers to feed its students, but how? A big box retail store and a hospital in Louisiana would like to sell and serve local foods, but again, how? Rather than having to resort to purchasing food through a large wholesaler, which often means food being shipped from thousands of miles away, local and regional food hubs enable local growers and buyers to connect, keeping dollars in the community and improving health and nutrition. The following are 10 food hubs across the United States that are making it easier to serve up local food.  Read More

Tech Tools for Food Hubs: Oregon Firm Builds Sustainability Through Software

September 25, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Local Food Marketplace

Photo courtesy of Local Food Marketplace

Local Food Marketplace provides a software platform for food hubs that allows them to reach customers, aggregate production and compete with traditional distribution. 

“We help food hubs all the way from the planning process and working with their producers to figuring out what their availability will be on a weekly basis,” says Amy McCann, who co-founded the business in 2009. “We also help with writing sales sheets, creating invoices for customers and managing the distribution to the food hub’s customers.“

McCann says her personal experience working in the food hub environment helps her offer more than just tech support to her customers.  Read More