Food Hub

Tell me again: What’s a 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.  For general information about food hubs, visit the National Good Food Network.

Findings and Background

In 2010, a Central Oregon Food Needs Assessment found that lack of infrastructure was a barrier to a robust regional food marketplace for both producers and consumers.  In response, COIC partnered with regional stakeholders to explore the development of a food hub model.  In 2012, the Central Oregon Food Hub Feasibility Study was published.  In 2012, a Food Hub Steering Committee made up of representation from: agricultural agency and producer, food business, chefs, distribution, economic development, government, grocer, institution, low-income access was formed.

The goals of the stakeholder group were to 1) clarify roles and develop strong partnerships in the community to ensure successful implementation, and 2) develop a clear vision, implementation plan, and an outline of a business plan that is financially sustainable, improves the viability of the local food economy, and incorporates low-income access.  In 2013 COIC presented our food hub model findings to the community and in 2014 COIC published a Food Hub Operating Plan.

In 2014, COIC partnered with the High Desert Food &Farm Alliance to work with community members to develop a food hub value-chain model. This project was funded by Rural Development Initiatives and focused on the WealthWorks framework, which brings together and connects community assets to meet market demand in ways that build livelihoods that last. Outcomes from this project were the development of a regional team, demand data to support the notion that buyers want local food, and next steps identified.  In 2015, COIC will seek additional funding to support the implementation of a wholesale food hub model, or projects that support a wholesale marketplace.  COIC continues to develop projects that support the food system in general and partners with the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance on their food system work.

Resources & Studies

For more information on Food Hubs, please visit the following links:

Katrina Van Dis, COIC Program Administrator or 541-504-3307