The Case for Food Hubs

From Food in the Hills:

The food hub concept, which is gaining traction throughout North America, holds the solution to a problem that continues to bedevil the local food movement, and that is lack of infrastructure. How can local growers, farmers and artisans aggregate, process, market and share their goods? How can they get what they grow and produce from their fields and home kitchens to the consumer’s dining table and local institutions? Food hubs are the missing link in the local food chain. Read more

The Community, the University, Sustainable Community Food Systems

Working Together to Improve Regional Food Systems

Interested in learning about Community-University partnerships and their ability to facilitate healthy, sustainable community food systems?

Join us for a webinar, Wednesday June 26, 1 – 2 pm EDT

Sign up to receive call-in information.

Hosted by The Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) project of Food Secure Canada and Carleton University

All webinars are recorded and posted within a week.

Webinar description

In 2000, the Waterloo Region was recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and comprehensive approach to creating a healthy community food system. It was through this approach that food was recognized as a key determinant of health. In this webinar, Katherine Pigott, Steffanie Scott, and Wajma Qaderi-Attayi describe two models of community-university partnerships in the Waterloo Region Food System.

These models are operating through the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo and through the Healthy Eating and Active Communities Team at the Region of Waterloo Public Health. We will compare and describe these two ad hoc models of community-university partnerships, both of which act as facilitators of a healthy community food system.

Our presenters:

Katherine Pigott has worked at Region of Waterloo Public Health since March 2000. Katherine has over twenty years experience in community based planning, systems change and policy formulation that spans health promotion, economic development, crime prevention, and environmental planning.  In the course of her work, she has launched several businesses and non-profit ventures to meet social needs. She acts as Chair of Health Promotion Ontario.

Steffanie Scott is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, and is engaged in research on sustainable food systems in China and Canada. She is President of the Canadian Association for Food Studies and is past Co-chair of the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable. Steffanie’s next research project will involve developing a sustainable urban food system assessment framework, which will be applied in several cities in China. Steffanie teaches a 4th year course on food systems and sustainability.

Wajma Qaderi-Attayi is now working to complete her Master’s in Public Health. Currently, as a Public Health Planner Intern, she is working on the Healthy Eating Active Communities team at the Region of Waterloo Public Health, also with Health Promotion Ontario. In addition, Wajma is also currently precepting public health surveillance at the University of Waterloo.

York Region Food Charter

Charter promotes a healthy local food system for York Region

The York Region Food Charter was unveiled on March 20th in Richmond Hill. The charter is a guiding document for the development of coordinated food-related policies and programs across the region’s nine municipalities. Aligned with the food movement across Canada, it promotes a system from farm to plate that provides access to local, affordable and nutritious food for everyone. The draft of the charter was developed last Spring in partnership with United Way York Region, through Strength Investments.

Read more

And be sure to check United Way York Region’s Strength Investments community fund opportunity: does your United Way offer this?

Upcoming Webinars

Baltimore: A Healthy Food Access Case Study

Thursday, May 16
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Baltimore offers an important example of a city that has successfully implemented an inter-governmental initiative to increase access to healthy and affordable foods in underserved neighborhoods.

This webinar offers an in-depth exploration of Baltimore’s healthy food retail programs and accomplishments including its virtual supermarket program, the financing of two recent healthy food markets, and a just released study mapping food quality in Baltimore food markets.

Presenters Include:

  • Laura Fox, Director, Baltimore Office of Chronic Disease Prevention
  • Amanda Behren’s, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Maryland – Food System Mapping Project
  • Dana Johnson, Market Leader Baltimore, The Reinvestment Fund
  • Patricia Smith, Senior Policy Advisory, The Reinvestment Fund

Register here

 

Starting a Food Hub: Successful Hubs Share Their Stories

Thursday, May 16, 3:30 – 4:45pm ET

Free! Register Now

Food hubs hold great promise for a myriad of positive community impacts – economic development and job creation, farmland preservation, environmental sustainability… the list goes on.
But how do you start a food hub?
This webinar brings together the stories of the formation and first year of three different, successful food hubs. Our presenters are all founders of their hubs. They will share some of the best decisions they made … and some of the worst. What types of contacts did they feel really helped their business to thrive? How much money did they need, and how did they get it? Why did they choose their incorporation status? And more…
Panelists:

  • Sandi Kronick – Eastern Carolina Organics
  • Chris Hartman – Good Food Collective-Head Water Foods, Inc
  • Jim Crawford – Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative

Economic analysis of local and regional food systems: Taking stock and looking ahead

The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists cordially invite you to a public webinar
Monday, May 20th – from 3:00 to 4:30 pm EST

Brief Summary – To address the current state and future direction of economic analysis with regard to local and regional food systems, Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program convened a meeting of a group of economists and local food researchers on January 31 and February 1, 2013.   This webinar will provide a brief synopsis of the meeting outcomes, with a focus on questions one should consider when conducting or commissioning a study on the economic impacts of local and regional food systems.   There will be adequate opportunity for participants to weigh in with comments and questions to continue to inform the discussion on future economic impact studies of local and regional food commerce.

To get on the webinar, go to: https://connect.msu.edu/richpirog

The webinar will be recorded for those who are not able to participate on May 20th.  For additional information please contact:

Rich Pirog – Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems  –rspirog@msu.edu

Jeff O’Hara – Union of Concerned Scientists – johara@ucsusa.org

 

Resources to Create or Expand Healthy Food Retail: Public and Private Grant and Loan Programs

Thursday, May 30
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

This webinar will provide an overview of the “Find Money” section of the Healthy Food Retail Portal and provide examples of specific federal, state, and local resources that can be tapped to create or expand healthy food retail opportunities in underserved communities.

Presenters Include:

  • Pamela Porter, Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Opportunity Finance Network
  • Christine Fry, Senior Policy Analyst and Program Director, ChangeLab Solutions
  • Khanh Nguyen, Portfolio Director – Healthy Living, The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Patricia Smith, Senior Policy Advisor, The Reinvestment Fund

Register here.

Growing Food Connections

Growing Food ConnectionsBuilding the capacity of local and regional governments to improve community food systems to benefit small and mid-sized farmers and underserved community residents.

The overarching goal of this project is to enhance food security while ensuring sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food production. This requires, in part, removing public policy barriers and deploying innovative public policy tools.

Growing Food Connections is a diverse partnership of researchers, planning practitioners, and food systems stakeholders from across the United States. The partnership includes eight core groups, all of whom will play a role in the research, practice, and educational areas of the GFC initiative.

Read more

Community Meeting on Local Food System

Are you interested in a local food system in Huron County?
Please attend our community meeting to learn more and share your ideas!

Where – Stanley Community Centre just west of Varna
When – Wednesday May 8th from 6pm to 9pm
Refreshments available – doors open at 5:30
Please call or email to register:
Janice Dunbar 519.482.3416 ext.2255
jdunbar@huroncounty.ca

What we hope to achieve:

  • Create unified/common understanding of a sustainable food system in Huron
  • Bring learning from other rural areas engaged in sustainable food system efforts
  • Build momentum and leadership for a sustainable food system in Huron County

Some questions we hope to answer:

  • What does the system look like?
  • What are the missing pieces?
  • Who are the key players in the system?
  • Where are you? How do you fit within the food system?

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 7

Community Engagement: Pedagogy, Partnership, Practices
26th Annual Teaching and Learning Innovations Conference
Jointly sponsored by the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences and the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Connie Nelson, Lakehead University
“Service Learning and Democratizing Knowledge”

In the past month we’ve seen a huge revival in the use of the term ‘sustainable’ in the foodosphere (that’s the ‘blogosphere’ as it relates to food) – as I tried to capture in the last Feast (vol. 6.2). Whether talking about farm insurance, food marketing, food systems, food justice, food hubs, food regulation, the future of farming, or the future of food, it’s gotta be ‘sustainable’ (again). Here is a small (but important) sample:

http://fox6now.com/2013/04/27/urban-farming-expert-promotes-sustainable-food-systems/

http://learn.uvm.edu/sustainability/food-summit/breakthrough-leaders-program/

http://www.farms.com/BASFconverstionsonsustainability/tabid/1247/Default.aspx

The Small-Minded, Small Farm Conundrum
Our ideas are not small in any way, but we end up time and time again arguing our case primarily on the basis of size.   … But size alone seems not to be the primary driver of risk.  Rather, such factors as time, distance and system complexity are the most immediate keys to controlling risk, and that would make local and regional food systems a critical part of any effective national food safety strategy. Read more

Local and Regional Food System Marketing Program Opens Up New Round of FundingThe USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a request for applications for its latest round of funding for the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).  Two previous priority categories remain for the 2013 round of grants:

  • Creating wealth in rural communities through the development of local and regional food systems and value-added agriculture; and
  • Developing direct marketing opportunities for producers, or producer groups.

Read more

Greenbelt Fund Green Papers – Volume 6 – People: Attitudes and Beliefs
When making changes to the food purchasing process, the challenge public institutions face is that they tend to involve a long list of staff members that play a role in this process… Any one person on this long line of those directly and indirectly affected can stymie institutional change. It is therefore of utmost importance that relevant staff is engaged when initiating change. Read more

Locavesting is a call to rethink the way we invest, so that we support the small businesses that create jobs and healthy, resilient communities. Read more

… and finally, regular Feast readers will have been struck by the number of articles on the investment in infrastructure happening at a a state level in both Michigan and New York. Here’s more:

What is a food hub? Part 3: Michigan Hubs

The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network facilitates:

  • increased learning, innovation, and profitability for participating food hubs
  • increased access to food hub financial and technical assistance, research, and education
  • increased business-to-business collaboration across food hubs.

Read More

State approves $2.5 million for Madison County ‘food hub’
The grants from Empire State Development Corp. will help Growing Upstate Food Hub LLC, a consortium of farm businesses, build the $4.2 million shared-use facility in Canastota. Read more

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 6.2 (Sustainable Food Systems)

Does your health insurance company support your local farmer?
CSA wellness rebates boost local food systems and increase sustainable agricultural practices … while giving consumers a little extra pull in shaping our national food supply.  Maybe policymakers will take note. Read more

HUBS

Local Farmers Plant Seeds for Sustainable Food Hub in Central Vermont
The mission of the Farm-to-Table program is to provide universal access of locally grown foods through education, marketing and distribution.  Read more

Value-Added Food at the Mad River Food Hub
What products do local restaurants, retailers, schools and hospitals regularly use? Among these products, where do they value freshness and quality most? Of these products, can we reconstruct them with the local ingredients presented to us from our initial question?
Read more

Simcoe County Feasibility Study: Regional Food Distribution Hub
See the Stakeholder Focus Group Day’s presentation [pdf], including information about the project and feedback provided on barriers and solutions.

Community Infrastructure

Cooperative Groceries: Is this the Future of Community Food Retail?
Imagine shopping at a grocery store that only carries local products with prices set by members of the community, rather than a corporation. Read more

We envision The Mustard Seed becoming a beautiful place to shop, a place that promotes food access, connection between local producers and consumers, and a vibrant sense of community. Read more

The West End food Co-op will: Promote co-operative values and ownership; Act as a catalyst for local food security by coordinating community driven food initiatives; and Provide the local community with a full-service grocery store that focuses on selling products that are ecologically sustainable, local and healthy, such as fair trade and organic. Read more

Food Systems Approaches

First Nations Development Institute Awards $375,000 to 10 Native Food-System Projects under the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI), which addresses issues confronting tribes and Native communities as they seek to strengthen the food system in their communities, improve health and nutrition, and build food security. Read more

Bioregion Food System Study
Led by Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, the three-year initiative -the world’s first bio-region study aiming at increasing food security- will lay out a plan for stakeholders and governments in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky Corridor to create a regional food system. Read more

The Sustainable Food Cities Network is an alliance of public, private and third sector organisations that believe in the power of food as a vehicle for driving positive change and that are committed to promoting sustainable food for the benefit of people and the planet. Read more

 

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 6.1 (Upcoming Events)

Until 30 April 2013, the UN FAO is running an open e-consultation on ‘Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems’

WEBINARS

Financing Farmers and Food Hubs
April 30, 2013
2:00-3:30pm
Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network
 Learn more about two exciting financing projects: the Shade Fund (part of the Conservation Fund) and the Northwest Michigan Farm and Food 20/20 Fund.
To participate in the webinar, go to: https://connect.msu.edu/richpirog
Read more

Stocking the Pantry: Fundraising in the community food sector
Upcoming free webinar: Wednesday, April 24, 12:00-1:00pm EDTJoin Nick Saul, President & CEO of Community Food Centres Canada, and Cheryl Roddick, Director of Development at The Stop Community Food Centre for a conversation on fundraising for small to mid-size organizations. The discussion will touch on the evolution of fundraising at The Stop, key development moments, the art of stewardship, the importance of diversified funding, and more. Click here to register – https://cfccanada.webex.com/

Foodweb Solutions 2.0

Food Hackathon was the first of its kind event empowering food lovers and developers with a focus on building hardware and software products and services that positively impact the production, storage, distribution, access, discovery, sharing, consumption, and social impact of food. Read more

Crowdsourcing crop improvement and local indicators?
Can we preselect varieties for a future climate, from a similar climate here and now?
What indicators of season changes will stop being useful to farmers? Will these work in a different place in the future? Read more

Web-based Community Food Toolkit goes ‘live’

Nourishing Ontario constructed a community food toolkit, to help local food initiatives develop sustainable regional food systems. As part of an Agri-Food and Rural Link-funded project, (the knowledge translation and transfer program of the OMAF and MRA- U of G Partnership), we converted this Sustainable Communities of Food toolkit into a web-based platform, using feedback from our community and research partners on both the physical and web-based versions.

On April 4, at the OMAF and MRA- U of G Partnership Knowledge Exchange Day 2013: The KTT Toolbox, we took part in a workshop that ran through the processes involved in gathering and dealing with the feedback, and the positive changes in the digital toolkit that resulted.

We have also coordinated the development of this web-based Community Food Toolkit with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and University of Guelph Partnership / Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) Funding Program website, where the description of our project and links to our web-based Toolkit are now ‘live’.