Food hubs across the US are now giving small farms the opportunity to sell what they raise to consumers. It is an efficient way of promoting locally grown products.
There are now over 300 food hubs in the country providing this outlet, which is more than double the number six years ago.
Food hubs are “defined as facilities that manage the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution or marketing of locally and regionally produced food.”
There isn’t a specific model of a food hub as it depends on the market, location, and what is grown in the area. In some instances food is collected and given to consumers on a weekly basis, while other hubs help consumers and restaurants to source food online.
Doug O’Brien, deputy undersecretary for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said:
“We’ve seen in the last few years in particular as local and region food systems have grown and become not only larger but kind of more sophisticated that there has been a need for sort of the logistics of moving food from the field to the consumers. And food hubs kind of fill that space,”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture spent around $25 million from 2009-2013 supporting food hubs.
Farmers have said that these hubs allow them to focus on a few items and reduces the amount of time it takes to sell what they raise.
Market gardens – micro-farms between 1 to a few acres in size – benefit enormously from food hubs.