> Findings of the 2017 National Food Hub Survey

Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems once again partnered with Wallace Center at Winrock International to produce the 2017 National Food Hub Survey, and its report the Findings.

Made apparent in the related executive summary, there are six core concepts that emerge from the survey responses. It is clear that FOOD HUBS...

  • Are becoming an established sector
  • Contribute to the economy
  • Support farmers
  • Support the "triple bottom line"
  • Capacity to meet food safety certification demands is increasing
  • Still face viability challenges

Kate Danaher, Senior Director, Social Enterprise Lending & Integrated Capital at RSF Social Finance expresses the value of the study: "The National Food Hub Survey data is absolutely critical both for food hub operators and for those of us interested in investing in a new food paradigm. At RSF Social Finance, we use the data to help underwrite our investments and to provide practical business support services to our clients."

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> From The Ground Up: Inspiring Community-based Food System Innovations

Despite its productivity, the conventional food system in the United States is fraught with inequity, negative environmental impacts and threats to human health. Every week, new stories surface about the crisis in our food system, from environmental degradation to inhumane conditions for farm workers to lack of access to good food, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color.
At the same time, a revolution is underway: Communities across the United States are taking matters into their own hands, creating innovative programs that increase access to food, improve health, protect the environment, generate community wealth and address historical inequities. Against the backdrop of the conventional food system, these community-based innovators are charting the course to a healthier, more sustainable future.

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> Findings of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey

Food hubs—businesses that actively manage the aggregation and distribution of source-identified food products—are receiving continued, growing attention from diverse stakeholders who see food hubs as vectors for economic growth and social and environmental change. As consumer desire for local and regional foods continues to grow and evolve, food hubs are increasing in number and adapting to shifting demand from intermediated local and regional food markets. The 2015 National Food Hub Survey and its predecessor, the 2013 National Food Hub Survey, represent a broad effort to aggregate national level data on the characteristics and impact of food hubs. Together, these surveys represent the beginning of a longitudinal database from a large, broad national sample of food hubs. This survey was  lead by Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems, with assistance from Wallace Center and other National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration members.

The 2015 survey findings indicate that as new food hubs continue to open for business, more established food hubs continue to operate and thrive. One-third of hubs completing the survey began operations in the last two years. Threefourths of surveyed hubs across the nation are breaking even or better. By comparison, a little over two-thirds (68%) of food hubs were breaking even or better in 2013. We think this change represents an important threshold that demonstrates the food hub model can be financially successful across a variety of legal structures and geographic or customer markets.

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Citation: Hardy, J., Hamm, M., Pirog, R., Fisk, J., Farbman, J., & Fischer, M. (2016). Findings of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems & The Wallace Center at Winrock International. Retrieved from http://foodsystems.msu.edu/activities/food-hub-survey