The USDA working definition of a food hub is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.” By actively coordinating these activities along the value chain, food hubs are providing wider access to institutional and retail markets for small to mid-sized producers, and increasing access of fresh healthy food for consumers, including under-served areas and food deserts.
Why this conversation? Over the past couple years Wellspring CSA has heard from school food service directors, hospitals, restaurants, and food processors that they want to do more locally but they don’t have the time or resources to be calling 7+ farmers. Just as Wellspring readied to hold this summit we learned of the same interest by INVEST – Ozaukee County Health Department which has lead to this partnering.
A food hub supports the aggregation of what is available. It provides:
•secondary markets for farmers who don’t really need new customers but occasionally have seconds and/or surplus
•markets for newer farmers seeking customers
•increased local purchasing and thereby benefits the local economy
Come learn more and ask questions! Let’s explore the possibilities!
The Summit on Thursday, March 21 from 1-4 p.m. will feature:
•Representatives from 4 different food hub models from around Wisconsin will share information about their model, pros & cons, and how they started. Each will take 15 minutes to present their model.
•Following a Q&A session, each “sector” will break into separate groups (i.e., farmers; school, hospital, nursing home food service directors; restaurants; grocers; economic development folks and potential funders). They will be facilitated through a brainstorming/strategic thinking session to identify what they like, don’t like about the various models; what they would like an Ozaukee/Washington Food Hub to look like, etc.
•Groups will report back to identify differences and commonality by each sector and the importance of forming a food hub/cooperative.
•Brainstorming to determine whether or not further conversations should occur and if so, possible next steps.
•Request for a Task Force to work on next steps.
This summit is in partnership with Ozaukee County Public Health Department and Wellspring with some financial support from Outpost Natural Foods. While Wellspring would not be the food hub, we are committed to helping support and improve the local food system. The first step after the past year of research and conversations with farmers, food service directors, processors and more, has led to this facilitated conversation and discovery of what might work in our region.
More information and links related to Food Hubs can be found at this link: Food Hub resources and information.
Please save the date and time and if able to attend please RSVP to Wellspring at 262-675-6755 or email@example.com
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If you know others that should be invited to participate and may not have been invited PLEASE pass this invitation and SAVE the DATE on to them!
Information courtesy of Angela Rester, Executive Director – Wellspring Organic Farm & Education Center – 262-675-6755