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Food Hubs SEGRA 26 Oct 2016

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Camilo Rose Tucker

on 8 October 2016

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Transcript of Food Hubs SEGRA 26 Oct 2016

Community Food Hubs - An Economic and Social Justice Model for Regional Australia?
Creative Food Economy
From Food Banks to Community Food Centres
Food Hubs in the US
- 350 Food Hubs in 2014, 288% increase from 2007
- Estimated total revenue of $0.5bn
- 98% of Food Hubs expect increased demand for local produce in next two years
- 38% for-profit, 36% NFP, 19% Co-operative, 3% public, 4% other
- 32% less than 3 years, 30% less than 6 years
- total number of employees 2187 (128 Hubs), median number of staff 9
- Median number of suppliers was 52, up from 38 in 2013
- 66% of Hubs had revenue in excess of $200,000
- Fresh produce accounts for 58% of sales, followed by meat, poultry & fish at 18%
Local Food in the US
- $4.8 bn in 2008, $6.1 bn in 2012, up 27% (USDA)
- $9 bn in 2013 to $12 bn in 2014, up 33% (AT Kearney)
- Predicted 9% annual growth to 2018
- 8268 Farmers Markets i n2014, 180% increase from 2007
- 4322 Farm to School districts in 2014, 430% increase from 2007

- Foodbank
- Drop in Service, Perinatal program
- Community action program
- Ovens and community cooking
- Community advocacy
- Sustainable food systems / food literacy training
- Urban agriculture
- Primary school food education
- Greenhouse and nursery program
- Commercial kitchen / cafe / events

- Meet basic food needs of clients
- Foster opportunities for community members to build mutual support networks
- Enable community members to connect to important resources
- Empower members to find their voices on underlying causes of hunger and poverty
"Connecting Smaller Farmers to Bigger Markets"
Anthony Flaccavento, Bendigo, 8 August 2016

Socially Just -
fair prices for farmers, liveable wages for workers, good food available and affordable
Economically Robust -
sound, profitable business model
Ecologically resilient -
sustainable production

A regional Food Hub is an innovative enterprise, often with a social justice mandate, that supports local and regional economies by coordinating aspects of production, aggregation, processing, distribution and marketing of local or regional food, aiming to support medium to smaller scale producers and food enterprises.

Local Food Hub, Charlottesville
Intervale Center, Vermont
- Charitable foundation, mission to strengthen community food systems
- Farm incubation - leases land & equipment, & provides traiing & mentoring, to small farms, supports 60 jobs, removes barriers to new farmers
- Food Hub - CSA delivery, local organic produce, food stamps accepted
- Conservation nursery for riparian restoration
- Food gleaning and rescue - volunteers glean fresh food from local farms and package free food shares for individuals, families and agencies
Critical success factors
- Innovative partnerships and collaborations
- Visionary and committed leadership
- Long-term commitment of significant philanthropic support, as well as corporate and government funds
- Understanding and responding to needs of clients
- Respecting clients as individuals & treating them with dignity and respect
- A welcoming place where people come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food
- Provides emergency access to high-quality food in a dignified way
- Multi-faceted integrated and responsive programming in a shared space where food builds health, hope, skills and community
6 CFCs - 143,419 meals served
- 136 affordable market sessions
- 82% report increase in cooking confidence
- 54% say involvement improves physical health
- 64,394 volunteer hours, 1217 volunteers
- 81% have met new friends & 88% say they feel they belong to a community
- 70% report mental health benefits
- 79% of social justice club participants say the group helped them to think differently about the challenges they face
Impacts - 2014 evaluation
- $US23.5 mn redevelopment of old Eastern Pumping Station
- 3.5-acre campus with job-training facilities, communal business incubator space, and land for urban farming.
- Fully licensed commercial kitchen
- Co-working office space
- Storage, warehousing, distribution facilities / trucking station
- Workshops, training and mentoring for enterpreneurs
Health & well-being: 30% of all adults obese, cost to national economy of $130 bn, ~8% of GDP ($1.62 trn in 2015)
Food insecurity / food poverty - 516,000 Australians accessing emergency food in 2014 (Foodbank Australia)
Declining viability of producers: 70% of all Australian farmers depend on off-farm income; 75% rise in farm debt in decade to 2014 (now $70 bn) - average of nearly 10 farmers leaving the land every month
Environmental issues - soil erosion & degradation, climate change, waste & pollution, biodiversity loss
Values-Based Supply Chains
"Field to Fork" food systems

Source-identified produce
Customers and consumers receive information about the social, environmental and / or community values incorporated in the production
Fair and transparent pricing for producers
Information preserved throughout the supply chain

Growers treated as strategic partners, not input suppliers
VBSCs provide increased volumes & reduced transaction costs through aggregation
Products differentiated by values, local branding and story of producers
Rewards and responsibilities distributed equitably across the supply chain
Benefits of Food Hubs
Greater return to local producers
Supporting the transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture
Education of local consumers / increased demand for and access to local food products
Job creation and increased local economic activity
Increased access to healthy food for low income groups - enhanced health and wellbeing
Strengthened community engagement
Greater levels of respect, responsibility, accountability and transparency across the food value chain
Food Hubs - Key Characteristics
Key barriers & challenges
Low access to capital and resources
Low profitability - low margins / need to compete against mainstream food businesses
Lack of access to skilled staff / high reliance on volunteers
High requirement for infrastructure and fixed costs
Lack of of knowledge and capacity for effective marketing and branding
Lack of support, collaboration and cooperation, including from producers
Logistical and distribution challenges
Lack of support from customers / consumers, linked to prevailing culture of cheap / convenience food
Critical Success Factors
for Food Hubs
Leadership & entrepreneurial thinking: visionary, committed and experienced individual / team
Partnerships and networks / relationship building - especially with producers
Embeddedness in the local community
A for-profit focus
Achieving a minimum threshold of sales ~ $US1,000,000
Revenue diversification strategies
Tapping into larger-scale logistics
Supportive policy and program environment
Capable and experienced staff
Having access to a food-growing site / demonstration farm
A thorough understanding of local market conditions and local needs
Ability to combine entrepreneurship with commitment to values
CERES Fair Food
Buy Fair, Employ Fair, Build Community, Return Profits to Education
Trebled revenue from $1.2 mn in FY 2011 to $3.8 mn in FY 2016
Trebled workforce from 13 in 2010 to 38 today
1000 weekly customers in 2016 cf 300 in 2011
Critical Success Factors
Start-up grant of $620,000
In-kind support from CERES
Existing customer base from CERES market & organic shop
Relationships with similar social enterprises
Filling market niche for organic box delivery
Reduced transport costs using Food Hosts
Dr Nick Rose, Executive Director
Sustain: The Australian Food Network
Lecturer, Food Studies & Food Systems
William Angliss Institute
E: nick@sustainaustralia.org
M: 0414 497 819 / www.circlesoffood.org

Baltimore Food Hub
School of Food
Durham College: Centre for Food
4-acre property. 1.4 acres have been devoted to food production, with a pollinator market garden with herbs and vegetables, two fruit orchards and two greenhouses.
Horticulture – Food and Farming program (details here: http://www.durhamcollege.ca/programs/food-and-farming). This is a two-year diploma program that incorporates distinct aspects of food production including plant propagation, soil and pest management, cultivation, to food processing, packaging and food safety regulations, to product development, branding, marketing and business development
"From Field to Fork"
The Centre offers 12 programs for students across the fields of cookery, culinary skills and management, hospitality management, horticulture, pharmaceutical and food science technology, and events management
Centrality of strong local and regional partnerships and collaborations:

- Toronto Food Policy Council (since 1990)
- Durham Regional Food Policy Council (since 2010
- Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance,
- Food and Beverage Ontario
- In-kind donations from industry in the form of equipment and expertise
- Ontario AgriFood Venture Centre (http://oafvc.ca/content/about-oafvc), which supports local and regional farmers to value-add produce to take advantage of speciality and emerging markets, helps students in product development / commercialisation.
"Food hubs are not a panacea for the many issues plaguing the global food system nor for the complex problems facing regional Australia. Nonetheless, they represent a promising approach for strengthening local food communities and their economies, thus providing a strong plank from which to create broader food system change."
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