Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), through the Puget Sound Food Network (PSFN), has joined forces with 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living to contribute to a sustainable, environmentally and economically sound agricultural industry by fostering relationships and providing mechanisms to facilitate “business to business” commerce. The logistics of selling and buying local farm product in large volumes, conducting direct and efficient purchase and sale transactions, and aggregating and delivering multi-farm orders remain obstacles to achieving a sustainable regional food system. NABC and 21 Acres will be working together to address these challenges and removing barriers on both the supply and demand side. These cooperative efforts will help to ultimately increase the sustainability of local farms.
On Thursday, July 26th, NABC produced a Business-to-Business (B2B) Local Food Showcase at 21 Acres to provide an opportunity, in season, for farm businesses to make new direct market connections with a variety of reseller businesses. Approximately fifteen vendors showcased their products to buyers representing UW Medical Center, UW Campus Dining Services, Highline Schools, Pagliacci Pizza, White Center Educare, Pacific Coast Fruit and more. This event also marked the beginning of 21 Acres regional food hub pilot supported by NABC’s technical and marketing assistance. This new venture at 21 Acres will be an expanded format and utilize an innovative online sales platform, Farm to Table powered by Local Orbit. A select group of participants have already used the website to preorder and pay for local products. For example, University of Washington Medical Center Plaza Café preordered and paid for ten cases of blueberries from Bow Hill Blueberries and then collected their order at Thursday’s event. In coming weeks pilot participants will be able to place larger orders for delivery to their door or for pick up at 21 Acres food hub on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The facility will continue operating the food hub as an aggregation and distribution hub for a limited number of participating farms that have an existing connection with 21 Acres and PSFN.
Thanks to funding by the USDA Value Added Producer Grant, NABC will lend staff marketing assistance and the Local Orbit online transaction tool to support 21 Acres food hub facility near the population dense counties of King and Snohomish for one year. 21 Acres is an excellent site for aggregating, processing, selling and distributing regionally produced food affordably and efficiently in order to meet increasing demand from businesses and institutional partners in the region. As a result of supporting this food hub during their first year, PSFN and 21 Acres will work together to expand market opportunities for regional producers and increase local food access throughout the region.
See below for more pictures of last Thursday’s B2B Local Food Showcase:
For more pictures of the day’s event, check out our Facebook album.