Food Hubs and Beginning Farmers – Learn about the Food Hub Resource Guide
Distribution and marketing are a crucial element in the food chain. According to Arthur Neal from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) at the USDA, food hubs are playing an increasing role for everyone in the food production and distribution chain, including farmers.
But wait. What are food hubs?
From USDA’s new “Food Hub Resource Guide”: 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.
Beginning farmers, and especially farmers interested in producing for local markets or on a relatively small scale, might like to take note of the food hub concept, learn more, and find out if there is a food hub near you, or if there is potential to develop one. Neal from AMS recently wrote about this on the USDA blog:
Excerpt: Seventy-six percent of food hubs work almost exclusively with small-to-mid-sized growers. Without that support, many of these farmers would not have enough capital to own their own trucks, refrigeration units or warehouse space. By working together through the food hubs, they support each other while building their business. It’s a recipe for financial success that helps sustain the local community in a major way. USDA’s Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, released by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in 2012, gives lot of good information on food hubs and how they support the growth and development of regional food systems.