The Hudson Valley Food Hubs Initiative
The Hudson Valley Food Hubs Initiative - Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress
Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress has started a project to research and develop food distribution infrastructure, such as food hubs, to help local farmers bring their products to market.
The Hudson Valley region boasts a rich history of agriculture, with more than 5,000 farms that generate more than $500 million in revenue each year. The valley is also a growing culinary destination. Despite its prominence in the region, the agriculture industry has struggled for decades. Both the number of farms and the acres devoted to farming have been in decline. Additionally, higher costs of production have put further strain on farmers, many of whom can no longer rely on farming as their primary source of income.
While some producers have turned to direct-to-consumer sales to generate higher income, many smaller and midsized farms struggle to bring their product to market and compete. Meanwhile, a growing number of consumers are demanding local food products from retailers and restaurants, with some even willing to pay higher prices for local food. Meeting this demand will require stronger supply channels along the region’s food chain.
One means for assisting local producers bring their product to market is by developing food hubs. These food hubs address the “missing middle” in the local food infrastructure. They tend to be centrally located facilities that support aggregation, processing, and distribution and marketing of regionally produced foods. These hubs enable producers to sell to a base of larger customers, such as public institutions, supermarkets, or restaurants, that as individual producers they otherwise would not have the volume or contacts to access.
The Hudson Valley Food Hubs Initiative, supported by the New World Foundation, will begin in 2012 by documenting the region’s agricultural productivity and demand for local food. Additionally, the research project will identify strengths and infrastructure needs along the region’s food supply chain.
An advisory committee of local stakeholders in various sectors, including farming, processing, distribution, food service, and retail, will guide the initiative and provide expertise to the research team.
At the conclusion of this feasibility analysis and consultation with advisors, Pattern will determine if the region would benefit from food hubs development and, if so, the features of food hubs that would be most beneficial to the region’s food system.
As Pattern for Progress begins its research, hearing from local farmers, food distributors, restaurant owners and others along the food value chain will be crucial. We want to hear about current programs, challenges, improvements and opportunities for collaboration that would help local farmers get more of their food to market.
That's why Pattern will host six listening sessions throughout the Hudson Valley to gather information from those key stakeholders. A full schedule of listening sessions can be found at our events page, or on the flier at the bottom of this page.
You can also view a copy of our listening-session presentation below:
CLICK THE FLIER OR THE LINK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE COPY.
|Listening Session questionnaire.pdf||276.74 KB|
|Listening Session questionnaire.doc||119.5 KB|
|NWF listening tour flyer.pdf||597.99 KB|