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Food Hub

Hub-to-school: Vermont Food Hubs and Schools Work Together to Drive Localization of the Food System

January 13, 2016 |
Volunteers pose next to boxes of gleaned food, all destined for a Vermont food hub. Numerous food hubs in the state supply produce to schools. (photo courtesy Abbey Willard/Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets)

Volunteers pose next to boxes of gleaned food, all destined for a Vermont food hub. Numerous food hubs in the state supply produce to schools. (Photo courtesy Abbey Willard/Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets)

Food hubs and farm-to-school programs are essential mechanisms in increasing access to food produced locally and sustainably. In Vermont, an effort is underway to combine the power of both.

As the recipient of a USDA farm-to-school grant in 2013, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) produced a report titled “Using Food Hubs to Create Sustainable FTS (Farm-to-School) Programs.” It explores how to leverage “non-traditional resources to expand farm-to-School market relationships between Vermont’s schools and producers.”

The publication was released in March 2015, and now, more than nine months later, VAAFM local foods administrator Abbey Willard is pleased with its impact. Read More

Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative Looks to Localize Institutions

December 14, 2015 |
Maine Farm & Sea farmers harvest greens. Credit: Nathan Broaddus

Maine Farm & Sea farmers harvest greens. Credit: Nathan Broaddus

A group of Maine food producers, service workers and community members is out to change the local food system on an institutional scale.

The Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative is the first “farm and sea to institution” food service cooperative in the United States. Comprised of more than 100 owners, the group aims to transform the state’s institutional food service programs—like those in schools, universities and hospitals—by providing a higher percentage of local foods and employees to its partners. Read More

Q&A: Seedstock Panelist Amy McCann on the Future of Food Hubs

September 27, 2015 |

Amy McCann is the director and co-founder of the food hub technology firm Local Food Marketplace. The company provides food hubs with systems management and technology. Their goal is to help food hub clients maximize efficiency and deliver a … Read More

Financial Future is Bright for Food Hubs, Study Says

September 14, 2015 |
This map shows the number of farms with direct sales to restaurants and/or retail establishments as of 2012, and the locations of food hubs as of 2014. (image courtesy of Gary Matteson/Farm Credit Council)

This map shows the number of farms with direct sales to restaurants and/or retail establishments as of 2012, and the locations of food hubs as of 2014. (image courtesy of Gary Matteson/Farm Credit Council)

Food hubs are viable businesses with bright futures, according to a recent financial study on food hubs.

The COUNTING VALUES: Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Study drew on financial and operational data from 48 of the more than 300 food hubs in the United States. The report aims to compare results within particular sectors to develop baseline performance statistics.

It’s also the first report of its kind to focus on food hub performance metrics. The report formally defines a regional food hub as “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified products primarily from local and regional producers for the purpose of strengthening producer capacity and their access to wholesale, retail, and institutional markets.” Read More

Michigan Good Food Fund Looks to Finance the Local Food Chain

July 27, 2015 |

by Traci Knight

Image courtesy of Michigan Good Food Fund

Image courtesy of Michigan Good Food Fund

Access to fresh, healthy food as an economic development driver is becoming part of the picture in Michigan with the launch of Michigan Good Food Fund in June.

This statewide loan and grant fund will provide financing and business assistance to benefit communities with good food and economic opportunity, by offering funding from a broad sector of stakeholders, nonprofits, and philanthropist groups. The coalition is looking to support businesses to aggregate and distribute fresh produce in underserved communities while simultaneously building local economies. Read More