Local Food in Washington County Local Food in Washington County

Food Hub Development

Growth in local food consumption by our schools, institutions and wholesalers could significantly increase the viabilty of the local food economy in Washington County. Though schools, hospitals, and large retailers may wish to purchase local food they encounter simlilar challenges.

The barriers to local food market expansion AND the solutions for large scale buyers that could significantly increase use of local food are well documented in our region1 and are the same as those identified across the nation2.

Barriers to Market Entry or Expansion:
 University of Indiana Business Students Roadmap for Local Food HubCommon Solutions to Meeting Large Institutional Demand

Food Hubs - A Pivotal Part of the Solution

The challenges and solutions above point to a variety of responses including training, capital, technology and building of relationships.

Link to USDA ReglFood Hub Guide 2012The single and most effective solution that is growing in Maine and across the country is the creation of food hubs to create a large, consistent and reliable supply of local and regional food.

A truly great resource on food hubs is the 2012 USDA publication3 pictured at right that provides a good definition of a regional food hub:

A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.



Food Hubs in Maine and Washington County and throughout the nation...
The USDA has compiled a working list of Food Hubs throughout the United States that lists food hubs in 42 out of 50 states. It is current to January 15, 2014 (as more food hubs are forming all the time) and provides name, city, state, web address, business model, and legal status.
The 3 Maine Food Hubs listed on the USDA's working list include:
Though current to January, 2014 the USDA publication does not include the following Maine Food Hubs:

Do you know of others? E-mail Judy East so we can list (and learn from) others!

The Local Food Buying Clubs in Washington County  provide some Food Hub services especially aggregation of orders using the Harvest to Market Buying Club Software.
Cited Works:

1 - Downeast Business Alliance and Healthy Acadia/Healthy Maine Partnership. Downeast Farm & Food Cluster Project; Farm to Cafeteria - New Markets, New Opportunities. May 2009.

2 - Martinez, Steve, et al. Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues, ERR 97, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May 2010.

3- Barham, James, Debra Tropp, Kathleen Enterline, Jeff Farbman, John Fisk, and Stacia Kiraly. Regional Food Hub Resource Guide. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Washington, DC. April 2012