Food Hubs: Valuable players in sustainable food systems


Food Hubs: Valuable players in sustainable food systems



[Applause] what is a food hub food hubs are businesses sometimes nonprofits that actively manage the aggregation distribution and marketing of food products from local and regional producers food hubs purchase products from multiple farms and sell them to consumers or wholesale buyers like restaurants grocery stores and hospitals food hubs help local farmers access larger markets than they could sell to on their own and they often work directly with farmers to help them develop their own markets my name is Madea Sylvania and I'm the director of business development at lending at mandala marketplace I'm a Celia husband with the Tahoe food hub in Truckee California in 2017 staff from seven emerging food hubs went on a tour of two established food hubs to learn from their experiences and operations logistics and working with call growers hi everyone I'm Jennifer down in the marketing communications manager here at GV thank you for all coming and we're really happy happy here do a quick introduction to leave I'm 13 others in the ceo/founder nine Karen Salinger and I'm the Director of Sales so what are the oldest organic produce distributor in the country we've been in operation since 1974 you know we distribute high-quality produce to over 500 customers and the customers range from retail independent retailers and coops restaurant schools foodservice hospital I'm Kristin Koch at Koch farm we my husband and I have a food hub we represent about 40 45 different organic local growers and we provide services for them to thrive in their or in their business from very small to medium-size farmers we partnered with the small growers because they need they need some representation on the market and you know we they have really good product and we don't want to just work with a large large scale growers just for supply but we really want to support the whole community working with many small and mid scale growers presents challenges for food hubs in terms of balancing supply and demand it's you know a lot of pieces every day you know it's like a big puzzle to put together every day we really try to what I would I call host a whole farm sale so if somebody wants to work with us we try to take all their stuff and try to sell everything that's the challenge area all the time is to find you know to try to achieve the margin that will cost the goods that you're looking for and you know we were talking in the coolers over there about you know how to our buyers by how do they decide how much to buy and what's the market doing so how much should you guide based on where the market is headed that's all the juggling that you have to do what I think is interesting is sort of the science of pricing and feeling a little bit better that it's not sort of algorithm it is sort of a more nuanced science we work with some of the large growers but our preference it is and will always be to work with the small and mid-sized growers and so we have to put but we have to find the balance because we have to keep the supply for our customers but we're not chasing the cheapest price we are looking at where the market is trying to understand who the growers are that we really want to focus on and work with and working with that in between the buying and the selling food hubs have to think about how the produce is being stored to meet temperature requirements and food safety requirements and how orders are being fulfilled I represent an inventory control as well as the operations were put away in order pull we have set it off here we run about almost 24 hours a day ambien storage is our squash onions prepares garlic are the main item of our 42 degree cooler has the drink now all the churches of all oranges as potatoes pretty 50 degrees cooler that have top-notch cucumber pepper a lot of lemons come on and a specialty record there's grace before gavel you set up and planned it and then on the pulled off we have one two three food hub is a broad term but among food hubs there's a lot of variation and approaches to storage and order fulfillment that depend on the available infrastructure and their particular business model calendar by order it's my orders but wet long the ticket will tell you how big it's going to be on the culture allocated to silver box and it will take you through the cooler in a certain order so the method is a very very manual talk to Tessa jury to identify it and check it out magic bullet most of the order polling happens we try to we try to make it happen so that it doesn't start too long before morticians have orders for a truck all so they can fold all online rather than some workers dream day for this group of smaller hubs getting the chance to learn from more experienced hubs about their operations and logistics is valuable in looking towards their own growth and viability you know we talked a lot about what what a facility might look like what the transport systems look like what the logistics on the back end look like and we got sort of a surface-level window into that but it's still pretty helpful as we continue to evolve our own planning and realize the potential we had as a group of Northern California food hubs to hopefully one day develop a inter network between ourselves and build a larger regional food system between ourselves the idea of how we get from here to there sometimes isn't as clear and just hearing these folks talk about you know how they start is farming on a quarter acre and now there's sort of this massive operation is also inspiring it's demanding and long hours and not a lot of gratitude sometimes it seems like but you know it's out there and then when you see this it's a reminder that it's the important work that's being done food is food is where it all begins

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