An nonprofit association of farmer - owned food hubs operating cooperatively in the Puget Sound region, the Puget Sound Food Hub combines marketing, aggregation and distribution for local farms. The goal is to develop linkages between farms and businesses and institutions with a vision of creating healthier communities while expanding economic opportunities for sustainable northwest Washington farms. Puget Sound Food Hub's primary purpose is to increase the production, distribution and consumption of regionally produced food.
Origins of the Puget Sound Food Hub
In June 2010, the Skagit Wholesale Market was launched to help area farms and their wholesale customers decrease time and fuel costs associated with collecting and delivering farm direct local food. The Skagit Valley Food Co-op and NABC worked together to identify an initial group of local vendors and conducted buyer outreach. NABC collected weekly product updates and pricing from local farms and then generated a weekly email fresh sheet to buyers. Buyers called or emailed their orders and then picked up and paid each farm on market days. Each farm vendor handled their own payment transactions, including invoicing and alternate delivery options. After two seasons, the Skagit Wholesale Market became the North Sound Food Hub utilizing a customized online food hub management tool with a built in marketing and payment transaction system. Thanks in part to a USDA Value Added Producer Grant, NABC was enabled to expand the early wholesale market model into a bonafide food hub!
In September of 2012, NABC partnered with 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living who offered their location as an aggregation site for King and Snohomish county farms, and then purchased a refrigerated truck and converted it to reclaimed bio-diesel gas, thus beginning food hub deliveries into Seattle.
In 2013, Bow Hill Blueberries LLC began providing cold and freezer storage aggregation for the North Sound Food Hub, allowing customer pick-ups several days a week and servicing more farms and business customers in Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan counties, while 21 Acres drove up once per week to back-haul pre-sold orders bound for Seattle.
In May of 2014, a new online ordering platform was launched and in August Cloud Mountain Farm Center began providing aggregation and delivery services for Whatcom County. The first bi-annual farmer gatherings were held in April and December with farmers attending from King, Skagit and Whatcom counties. 2014 ended with sales of $233,000, doubled from 2013.
In 2015, the Puget Sound Food Hub worked with the City of Seattle and the Human Links Foundation to provide local produce to underserved day care sites and continued to expand their customer base of restaurants, grocers, food co-ops and institutions. 2015 ended with sales just under one million.
In 2016, the Puget Sound Food Hub transitioned to a cooperative and is now the Puget Sound Food Hub Cooperative and operates from Whatcom to Pierce County with a centralized warehouse in Mount Vernon and aggregation sites at 21 Acres, Cloud Mountain Farm Center and Terra Organics.
For more information, please contact Terri Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.