Food Hubs: A flagship socially conscious business model and key to scaling up local food
Report on 2017 survey gives the most current and comprehensive picture of U.S. food hubs and their impacts
Food hubs are maturing into a strong, stable model for socially conscious business and are helping to scale up the local food market, according to a just-released report from the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.
“The National Food Hub Survey data is absolutely critical both for food hub operators and for those of us interested in investing in a new food paradigm,” says Kate Danaher, Senior Director, Social Enterprise Lending & Integrated Capital at RSF Social Finance.
Food hubs are businesses that aggregate and distribute source-identified food products. The new report spans six years and draws on three surveys – 2013, 2015, and 2017 – to provide the most current and comprehensive picture of food hubs and their impacts in the United States.
The core concepts revealed by the 2017 findings include – Food Hubs:
· Contribute to the economy
· Are becoming an Established sector
· Still face viability challenges
· Support farmers
· Support the triple bottom line
· Capacity to meet food safety certification demands is slowly increasing
“It’s exciting to see which trends hold up over time,” says Kathryn Colasanti, the report’s lead author and Specialist at CRFS. “A lot has stayed steady from year to year, so it looks like the food hub sector has some consistent, identifiable characteristics – even though individual food hubs vary a lot. We’re hoping that this is the most useful report yet, both for food hub managers and for funders looking to better understand these unique enterprises.”
View the full report, Findings of the 2017 National Food Hub Survey, and a sharing toolkit at: http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/2017-food-hub-survey.
Colasanti and other report authors will discuss the findings on April 19 from 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM EDT in a webinar hosted by the Wallace Center. Register at: http://bit.ly/2JbCFHo.
The web-administered survey was conducted February–April 2017. Details regarding sampling, data collection, analysis, and response rate are included in the 2017 report.
Funding from the C. S. Mott Endowed Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation was used to conduct the 2017 National Food Hub Survey and produce this report. Participation by the Wallace Center has been graciously supported by the Kresge Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.
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