Food Hubs seem to be all the buzz these days. There are food hubs throughout the nation that are proving that they can successfully help be a part of the system that increases access to healthy, local food. Food hubs work on a regional scale, and at the most basic level, they serve to aggregate, distribute and market local food to buyers. They work with producers of various sizes and that grow various products. They work with buyers that have a variety of needs related to quality and quantity. The food hub serves as the coordinating system, that opens up new markets for producers, and opens up access to locally produced food for buyers and end consumers.
The Verde Valley Agriculture Coalition (VVAgC) hosted a forum on Tuesday, January 28th, in Cottonwood to discuss the potential for a northern Arizona Food Hub. The meeting was meant to be a call to action to stimulate conversations about how a food hub might work in northern Arizona and to gage interest in participation from the different parties that would/could be involved. The forum had an amazing turnout and each of the groups, including buyers, producers, processors, food insecure organizations and marketing / economic opportunity groups, all focused their conversations in a productive and positive way.
The goal of the day was to have the groups of participants develop a relationships with each other, and make connections with those they could potentially buy from or sell to. The hope is that by discussing questions like "What do you need?" and "What are some obstacles and opportunities?" that networks can start building in the future and problem solving can start to take place. The hope is to eventually start setting up networks and making transactions in northern Arizona. And in the long run, who knows? - a Northern Arizona Food Hub could be in our future...
Northern Arizona Director, Meg Williams, currently serves on the board of the VVAgC and has a background in working with food hubs. If you are interested in accessing the full notes from this meeting, if you're interested in participating in a conversation about a food hub in northern Arizona, or if you have any questions about food hubs or community food systems, please contact [email protected].