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Local Food Hubs


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So, I finally found a way to mix my professional interests with my personal interests. I've been working on getting my MBA part time from UMD's Smith School of Business, and I'm working on a project about local food hubs and how to make them more profitable. Basically, these hubs are distributors of local foods (mainly produce) to restaurants, grocery stores, etc. The idea is that by aggregating all the local produce, you'll be able to achive some economies of scale to drive down costs, while at the same time providing local farmers with a more steady stream of income. There are plenty of them out there that work, even in VA, but I'm trying to find ways to make them more profitable and sustainable (from a monetary standpoint).

I'm looking to talk to anyone in the food industry that can help me out or that has some knowledge of the wholesale market. For example, I'm looking to speak with:

-Chefs/Restaurant/Grocery Store owners - Talk about what you look for in a wholesaler, what kind of constraints do you have working with local food producers?

-Distributors - Do you currently work with local farms? What type of scale are we talking about? What's your model to distribute?

-Farmers - What types of barriers to market do you have? Is this something you'd be interested in?

I figure, between everyone on this board, there's got to be a ton of people who might be able to help me out. I'm just looking for a few minutes to chat about this and help me to get a better sense of the market. Any help is much appreciated.



Food hubs that are already out there...

Local Food Hub (based in VA)

Intervale Food Hub (in VT)

Grasshoppers Distribution (in KY)

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (in CA - of course)

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