Farmers Take Ownership of the Puget Sound Food Hub

Seven years after it was initially formed as a wholesale market under the I-5 overpass in Mount Vernon, the Puget Sound Food Hub opened its 2016 season as a member ownedcooperative, operating an aggregating and distribution entity. The PSFH services a market region from Bellingham to Seattle and will post sales in excess of 1 million dollars this season.

In early spring 2016, Northwest Agriculture Business Center worked with key farmer
members and completed the process of incorporating the PSFH, or Hub, as a farmer owned cooperative. In early May, an initial group of member farms elected an interim board of directors to guide the co-op through its 2016 season.

On December 7 the board elected a full 2-year term board of directors at their annual membership meeting. From left to right they include:
Tim Terpstra, Ralph’s Greenhouse
Mike Finger, Cedarville Farm
Terri Hanson, General Manager
Erik Olson, Well Fed Farms
Jimmy Kintzele, Southern Exposure Family Farm
Amy Frye, Boldly Grown Farm
Vince Caruso, Caruso Farm
Griffin Berger, Sauk Farm (not pictured)

The new board is excited for the future of the Hub as a farmer owned entity and is grateful for both the initial work that NABC and 21 Acres did in creating it, and for the continued support they will provide the Hub as it fully transitions to being a farmer owned co-op. The interim board worked closely with the Hub?s General Manager, Terri Hanson, to insure the smooth operation of the Hub through the 2016 season, and to make preparations for the first co-op membership meeting on December 7.

NABC has continued to fully support the operation and success of the Hub during the transition to farmer ownership.  We will continue this support at the request of the cooperative, and we look forward to contributing to the success of the cooperative.

“As farmers we have been working on this project since 2012. Forming a cooperative was a natural progression to enable the farmers to take ownership of the distribution system we helped to create. We could not have accomplished this without the partnership of NABC, 21 Acres, some wonderfully supportive foundations, and the USDA.  There are other distributors doing a good job, but we think a farmer-owned distribution system is a great alternative for the customers and the farmers. Our commitment to source-identification for our member-owners’ products and fostering direct relationships between farmers and buyers are core values of the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative.”

–Harley Soltes, 2016 Vice President PSFH

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