Food Hubs

food hubs

 A food hub is a businesses or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution and marketing of source-identified food, primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail and institutional demand. Though they come in many forms, from coops to multi-farm CSAs to big, bustling warehouses, they are a critical component of a viable thriving local food economy.  

You can find a library of recent and featured food hub resources here!

Featured Resources


How can we create a more vibrant and resilient food system? One emerging idea is the formation of food hub networks. In this model, a group of food hubs partner together to expand opportunities for local food. It’s about collaborating to meet shared goals and expand opportunities for their producers. In the Pacific Northwest, three food hubs are doing just that. In late 2021, Puget Sound Food Hub, LINC Foods, and Western Montana Growers Cooperative officially formed the Northwest Food Hub Network (NWFHN). Now, just one year into their story, the network has seen $1 million in new …

Interoperability In Regional Food Systems: A Solution in a Public BlockchainTony Coble, Cullen Naumoff

Interoperability, the ability for different and unique softwares to share data, is key to both networking and general ease and efficiency of doing business. At Farm Fare, they endorse a public blockchain as a solution to interoperability. This document provides accessible (ie: non technologist) language to learn more about interoperability and a public blockchain.

Data’s Role In Regional Food Systems: A Practitioner’s GuideCullen Naumoff

The following provides accessible language to understanding a means to prioritize the use of data at your food hub and why data standards are critical to rolling up your own food hub’s experience in the context of other food hubs across the nation. Also: are you confused what data standards even are? Don’t worry, this resource defines and describes this for the non-technologist.

A Practioner’s Guide to Developing and Growing a Food Hub NetworkFarm Fare

Developing and sustaining a food hub …

Value Chain GuidebookValue Chain Initiative

A Process for Value Chain Development

2005, , ,
The Value Chain LinkThe Value Chain Initiative

An overview of the Value Chain Initiative in Alberta, Canada

2006, ,
Institutional Investment in PraxisElliott Smith, Kitchen Sync Strategies

This article highlights examples of institutions investing in their local food systems

2021, , ,
Delivering More Than Food: Understanding and Operationalizing Racial Equity in Food HubsMichigan State University

This report is a look at a how U.S.-based food hubs understand engagement in racial equity work. Through interviews with food hub managers and other roles, we identify common facilitators and inhibitors to food hubs engaging in racial equity …

From Food Hubs to CSAsWallace Center

When COVID-19 upended markets in the spring of 2020, many hubs borrowed elements of a Community Supported Agriculture model- which guarantees a market for farmers, provides customers a food box on a regular schedule, and strives to match the needs of farmers and growers. Local food hubs, even those that didn’t run CSAs, were able to collaborate with partners and use these models to manage this massive market …

2020, , , ,
USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Wallace Center Research Findings and Final ReportWallace Center

Findings and recommendations from Wallace Center led research into local- and regional- sourcing contractors participating in the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program

2020, , , ,
Findings of the 2019 National Food Hub Survey ReportMichigan State University, Wallace Center

Findings from the 2019 Food Hub Survey

Running a Food Hub Volume 4: Learning from Food Hub ClosuresUSDA Rural Development

The goal of this study is to examine factors that have led food hubs to close their doors. Many studies have been conducted on successful food hubs, but USDA hopes to fill a knowledge gap by using national data and case studies to draw general lessons from food hub failures. By identifying lessons learned from these cases, we hope this information will assist new and existing food hubs overcome barriers to …

Food Hub Common Chart of AccountsFarm Credit East

This is a sample chart of accounts for a food hub to help you ensure you are tracking the right financial measures for your …

Running a Food Hub Volume 3: Assessing Financial ViabilityUSDA Rural Development

This is the third volume in a series on the fundamentals of running a food hub. The purpose of this report is to provide benchmarks for established and emerging food hubs to use as a comparison for assessing their own financial viability and for making strategic business …

Financial Management for Food Hub Success – The 2018 Food Hub Finanical Benchmark Study FindingsWallace Center

Findings From the 2018 Food Hub Financial Benchmarking …

A Manager’s Guide to Food Hub Finances – Companion ResourceIowa State University

A Manager’s Guide to Food Hub Finances – Companion Resource Companion Resource to the Manager’s Guide for Food Hub …

A Manager’s Guide to Food Hub FinancesIowa State University

Finances for food …

Overcoming Obstacles to Frozen Local ProduceCommon Market

This case study traces Common Market’s exploratory process, product trials, and relationship building that ultimately led to its first branded, source-identified local frozen …

2014, ,
Moving Food Along the Value ChainUSDA Agricultural Marketing Service

This report examines the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of eight diverse food value chains to glean practical lessons about how they operate, the challenges they face, and how they take advantage of emerging opportunities for marketing differentiated food …

2012, ,
Managing Cash Flow for a Low-Capital Food Hub Start-upUSDA

Managing Cash Flow for a Low-Capital Food Hub Start-up For food hubs, or businesses that aggregate and distribute local food, limited funds can be a barrier to growth. This publication explains the idea of cash flow and how food hub managers can use it to their advantage, drawing on the real-world experiences of the Iowa Food Hub, which collaborated with the Leopold Center and ISU Extension and Outreach to compile this information. …

Running a Food Hub Volume 1: Lessons Learned from the FieldUSDA Rural Development

Running a Food Hub Volume 1: Lessons Learned from the Field The first in a multi-volume series on food hubs, the USDA released a 2015 report that includes best practices and in-depth profiles of food hub …

Running a Food Hub Volume 2: Business Operations GuideUSDA Rural Development

Running a Food Hub Volume 2: Business Operations Guide The report’s main focus is on the operational issues faced by food hubs, including choosing an organizational structure, choosing a location, deciding on infrastructure and equipment, logistics and transportation, human resources, and risks. …

Findings of the 2017 National Food Hub SurveyMichigan State University, Wallace Center

Findings of the 2017 National Food Hub Survey Findings of the third biennial National Food Hub Survey finds that Food hubs—businesses that actively manage the aggregation and distribution of source-identified food products—are an essential component of scaling up local food systems and a flagship model of socially conscious …

Value Chain Strategies for Source-Identified Minimally Processed Produce for the School MarketWashington State Department of Agriculture

Value Chain Strategies for Source-Identified Minimally Processed Produce for the School Market WSDA analyzed minimally processed fruits & vegetable supply chains in Washington State in order to identify strategies for developing the “value chain” infrastructure and relationships that might help local farms meet the demand for those products from K-12 schools and other institutional buyers. Year …

2018, , , , , ,
Reframing Food Hubs – Food Hubs, Racial Equity, and Self-Determination in the SouthCenter for Social Inclusion

Reframing Food Hubs – Food Hubs, Racial Equity, and Self-Determination in the South This paper is not an exhaustive overview of food hub and co-op work, rather it is intended to amplify and make visible some of the voices, concerns, histories, and work of communities of color to offer a new narrative of good food work for the broader field — one that paves a way forward that is rooted in racial equity. Year …


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