The North Sound Food Hub at Bow Hill will be one big step towards a resilient food system in northwest Washington. Learn about the hub and how you can be a part of its success!
The collapse of the I-5 bridge in Mount Vernon has made it ever clearer that our current food system can be shaky. I-5 connects farmers in the fertile northern counties with the urban centers of Bellingham, Seattle, and Tacoma. A single hiccup in that transportation system can lead to empty plates for disappointed customers (farmers markets, restaurants, CSA participants) and negatively affect the bottom lines of Washington food producers. The I-5 detour means longer commutes, more gas, and more time off the farm for farmers and ranchers.
Regional food hubs are one way to decentralize and strengthen local food systems. Regional food hubs have the potential to increase farm sales, reduce costs and waste, address regulatory requirements, and improve food safety standards while increasing access to locally produced foods.
The North Sound Food Hub at Bow Hill, hosted by Bow Hill Blueberries, has been in development since well before the bridge collapse, but emergency brings a new sense of urgency to the need for resilient local food systems. Once completed, the Hub will provide marketing, aggregation and distribution of the freshest, seasonal produce, meat, dairy and more, direct from local producers operating in Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island counties.
Several North Sound producers are already using it as an aggregation point (to the benefit of some happy customers!). The following producers are committed to using the hub: Well Fed Farms, Osprey Hill Farms, Raven Farm, Samish Bay Cheese, Skagit River Ranch, Twin Brook Creamery, Link Lab Artisan Meats LLC, Viva Farms, Highwater Farms, Bow Hill Blueberries, Hedlin Family Farms, Ralph’s Greenhouse, and San Juan Pasta Company. This list of participating producers is growing daily!
Think of what a functioning regional food hub could do for you!
For producers: Save time; make money. On a weekly basis farmers and producers from Skagit and Whatcom can bring their fresh food to the cooler at Bow Hill Blueberry Farm to be picked up by a truck and delivered to markets down south for free!
For home cooks and canners: Are you a jam or pickle maker? Gain easy access to diverse local foods in wholesale quantities. Use the Hub’s processing facilities to make your dream product. Form a buying group to access wholesale prices: imagine buying a couple hundred pounds of tomatoes and getting together to make tomato sauce!
For restaurants and commercial buyers: buy diverse local products from many producers at once. Get a single delivery, and pay only one invoice!
The North sound Food Hub at Bow Hill needs your help! The facility is already built, the delivery truck is purchased, and the driver is hired. What the hub needs is some additional seed money to turn the facility into a fully functioning food hub. Through a crowdfunding campaign, the hub is looking for help to cover initial input costs for refrigeration, potential freezing and the man and womanpower to make it happen. With $8000 of support from the community, Bow Hill Blueberries will be able to make these important services available free to our neighboring small farms, and enable more buyers to participate. The result is farmers working together to increase access to healthy, locally produced food and increased small farm profitability.
Can you contribute a small (or large!) amount to make the Hub a reality? There are 10 days left in the crowdsourcing campaign, a a few thousand dollars left to go until Bow Hill reaches its goal. Learn more and contribute here.
Since 2009, the thrust of NABC’s food hub development efforts has been to leverage “eat local” trends and create a fair and efficient agricultural infrastructure for the marketing, aggregation, distribution, and value-added processing of northwest Washington farm products. Representing the Pacific Northwest region, NABC is part of a national food hub movement, sharing experiences and best practices nationally while working locally with farmers and other like-minded partners.