"Put Your Own Mask on Before Helping Someone Else": The Capacity of Food Hubs to Build Equitable Food Access
Published on December 7, 2018
Published on March 27, 2018
Published on August 31, 2014
Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network
Food hubs are centrally located facilities with a business management structure that facilitates the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of local/regional food products (USDA-AMS working definition).
Food hubs can be operated as a for-profit business, a non-profit organization, a cooperative, or one of many other business models. Some hubs distribute statewide, while others focus on their local community. Most hubs supply local products to retailers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and direct to consumers.
What types of products do hubs sell?
The majority of food hubs sell fresh fruits and vegetables in season, as well as fresh and frozen meat and poultry, dairy, eggs, and cheese. Some also stock value added products like breads, shelf-stable jams, sauces, and oils. A few hubs lightly process (e.g. chop or shred) and freeze produce for sale year round.
The Michigan Food Hub Network
- Increased learning, innovation, and profitability for participating food hub and other regional food businesses
- Increase food hubs’ access to financial and technical assistance, research, and education
- Increased business to business collaboration and trust across food hubs and other regional food businesses
- Measurably increase healthy food access for low-income communities and vulnerable children in order to improve health outcomes
- Increased collaboration among food and health agencies and organizations in Michigan to support food hubs
- Convene three statewide food hub network meetings per year to create a space for learning and innovation in food hubs and regional food commerce
- Maintain a statewide listserv and an information page on the CRFS website
- Respond to emerging food hub needs through regional and local food hub meetings, conferences, learning sessions, webinars, trainings, and context-specific tool development
- Engage and recruit food hubs led by historically marginalized farmers and organizations representing food and health needs of low-income communities in leadership opportunities in all aspects of the network
- Coordinate technical assistance resources related to the Michigan Good Food Fund
- Collaborate across food system networks (e.g. Michigan Farm to Institution Network) to create market opportunities for food hubs and increase access to Good Food
- Provide scholarships and financial support to Michigan food hub managers to attend out of state trainings, conferences, and tours
The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network is led by CRFS in collaboration with Morse Marketing Connections, LLC, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. You may be interested in the two-page information sheet on the Michigan Food Hub Network.
National-Michigan Food Hub Connection
The National Food Hub Collaboration is a partnership between Wallace Center at Winrock International, USDA, National Good Food Network and others. The Collaboration is working to ensure the success of existing and emerging food hubs in the U.S. by building capacity through connection, outreach, research, technical assistance and partnerships. The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network will partner with the National Food Hub Collaboration in connecting Michigan food hubs and other regional food businesses with educational, technical and financial resources and expertise available across the country. The two co-leaders of the Michigan network also serve on the core team of the National Food Hub Collaboration.
Michigan Food Hub Feasibility Reports
Published on November 1, 2013
Under the leadership of the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association, stakeholders in the Galesburg region initiated a feasibility study to begin the formal process of developing a food hub in their region.
Published on October 30, 2013
This report seeks to answer questions of feasibility for a for-profit food hub in Northwest Michigan.
Published on July 2, 2012
In December 2011, Market Ventures, Inc. conducted a feasibility analysis for creating a food hub at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.