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 Blueberry Farm began providing cold and freezer storage aggregation for the North Sound Food Hub, allowing customer pick-ups several days a week and serve 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 2013, farm sellers achieved gross sales goals according to the grant work plan. Armed with a new business plan, farmers and ranchers participating in the Puget Sound Food Hub are projected to triple their sales in 2014.
The new Puget Sound Food Hub, which consolidates 21 Acres Food Hub, North Sound Food Hub is scheduled to relaunch in May 2014! For more information, please contact Lucy Norris at email@example.com. Stay tuned...