Food Hub Information/Research
Wellspring is committed to positively impacting our local food system. Wellspring’s Executive Director Angie interviewed food service directors in schools and hospitals to find out what needed to happen to increase use of local produce in their institutions. What she consistently found was the same thing heard by food and beverage processing companies….they don’t have time or resources to call 7 plus farmers to get what they need AND they need to have some assurances about the safety of the food and consistency.
To that end, Wellspring started researching Food Hub models around the country and in Wisconsin. More recently, we learned that Kari Jacoby, Ozaukee County Health Dept., was also interested in pursuing a Food Hub in Ozaukee County. After talking and a small meeting of a couple of local farmers and school food service directors, it was determined that the time had arrived to further explore a food hub for the Ozaukee and Washington County areas.
In early 2012, Angie had presented the concept to the West Bend Rotarians as a means to improving the local economy and to grow opportunities for farmers in the region. The concept was well received by these business leaders.
Thursday, March 21 from noon-4 p.m. at Riveredge Nature Center was the first Food Hub Summit to explore options and opportunities. Five different models of Wisconsin Food Hubs made presentations and then the 78 attendees made up of Farmers (over half of the group), Food service directors of various institutions, food processors, grocers, restaurants, funders, etc., discussed pros & cons and next steps. April 2 and 3 provided an opportunity for folks to participate in a free webinar to learn how we might begin a virtual food hub connecting farmers to institutions via a web based shopping cart/food hub.
To learn more, contact Angie Rester at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262–488–4747 and/or review the resources below.
A special thanks to the underwriters of this summit include Outpost Natural Foods, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Wellspring and INVEST Ozaukee County Health Coalition. Thank you Riveredge Nature Center for providing the meeting space.