We've been hearing buzz lately about food hubs. Have you heard of them? Like the name suggests, a food hub provides makers, growers, and other food producers with a central structure of some sort in which to process, distribute, and market their locally or regionally produced food goods. It's becoming quite common in many states, and farmers are now looking at it as a new way to distribute food among their members. Think it of as CSA 2.0.
One example of this newer food hub model is the Capay Valley Farm Shop, a multi-farm CSA group in the Bay Area. They qualify as a Food Hub because the farmers have banned together to compile their offerings and distribute them all at once to community members and retail locations—a system that's more efficient than a traditional CSA structure. As it was described to us, "30 farms plus one truck means more variety of local foods for urban subscribers. Instead of making deliveries themselves farmers spend time doing what they do best - farming, resulting in less road congestion and freeway emissions."
Last fall Mark Bittman also wrote about food hubs ("a next-generation CSA") and a regional food hub director he interviewed predicted that food hubs are likely to grow 20 percent in both membership and sales within the next year.
Are you a member of a food hub? Tell us your experiences below!
Thanks, Vanessa, for the heads up!