Regional Food Hub

"Regional food hubs make local food movements a reality; by rebuilding local infrastructure they provide a critical bridge between producer and consumer." - Douglas Gayeton

In this week’s Food List, we learn how regional food hubs empower small-scale farmers and instill within communities a greater appreciation for local food systems.

While there are many local-centric models, like CSAs, that remove the middleman and bring the farm directly into the kitchen, Grist suggests that regional food hubs are the missing link that fosters local support for small and micro farms. This missing link is being recognized as a strategy for nurturing food businesses in cities, such as San Francisco.

Not only do food hubs provide a market outlet for many food producers, as Nourish explains, they also restore and strengthen local food systems. In fact, regional food hubs may be the next step to taking “good food” mainstream.

Our friends at Re:Vision in Denver recognize the value of regional food hubs and cooperative distribution, and share with us their vision of making healthy food affordable and accessible.

We wrap up this edition of the Food List with Rich Pirog’s reflection on relationships in local food systems.

Local food systems flourish with the help of local support. How does your community thrive?

This week's terms

Local Food Systems

"A local food system is not so much about how far a particular piece of food travels from producer to consumer. It is more about a community having control over the who pays for the hidden costs of our food. These costs can include the environmental impact of the production and distribution of the food as well as the health care costs associated with eating low quality food. It also includes recognizing that workers from one end of the food chain to the other are the poorest paid employees in society and the corporations that benefit from these low wages often pass along the gap between actual wages and living wages to the government in the form of ‘welfare’. A local food system creates the platform for a community to collectively and transparently decide what their ‘food priorities’ are and who should bear the burden of any inequity." - Edwin Marty


While natural resources and economic infrastructure provide a template for conceptualizing a foodshed, a foodshed doesn’t really exist until a collective vision is called for and cast — whether by engaged citizens, concerned consumers, entrepreneurs, or policymakers. Foodshed boundaries are perhaps best defined by common cause rather geopolitical boundaries or even topography. Ultimately, a prospering and healthy foodshed is circumscribed by the periphery of a community’s ability to create positive change for the common good. When common goods are linked to the common good, the scales tip from default to design, and the foodshed becomes a collaborative vision and a shared reality.” 

Regional Food Hub

Regional food hubs support local farmers by providing distribution for their products, like, for example, organic crops. They also play a critical role in transitioning conventional growers towards organic agriculture by providing access to a growing base of organic consumers.

Cooperative Distribution

A coordinated supply and distrubtion system that enables farms to thrive by allowing them to focus on growing quality produce instead of the selling, marketing, and delivery of their product.

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