Northwest Agricultural Business Centre and Farm Network

NABC farm network map image

The NABC (previously the Puget Sound Food Network) stand out as a unique regional model that works across sectors to bring ‘the farm to market’.Their head office is located slap bang in the middle of the beautiful Skagit Valley food bowl in Washington, and their mission is to provide farmers across the region with ‘the skills and resources required to profitably and efficiently supply their products’ to consumers, retailers, food manufacturers, wholesalers and food service providers.

 In order to do this they provide some key services including:

  • Business Planning
  • Value-added Product Development
  • Marketing/Sales Assistance
  • Rural Cooperative and Organizational Development
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Classes and workshops
  • Processing equipment rental
  • A regional online farm network map

poultry processing pic NABC

Now on top of all of this NABC also performs functions that fit it into our classification of a ‘food hub’ including:

  • Online platform and ordering system for direct ‘farm to table’ product sales
  • Enabling and supporting Hub Development:  The Centre piloted initial efforts such as the Skagit Wholesale Market in a car park underneath the local food coop that has now evolved into North Sound Food Hub, serving commercial and institutional buyers across the region, and partnered with Local Orbit, a for-profit company to turn the parking lot wholesale models into operational regional food hubs in other locations.

North Sound Food Hub

  • Connecting farmers to institutional markets through food hubs, network building and participatory consultation and communication.
  • Agriculture Processing Initiative: the centre has been funded by the USDA to provide technical support for existing agricultural processors and to incubate new processors as part of the aim to improve economic conditions in rural areas across the region.
  • Research, education, development and promotion of the local cider industry in partnership with Washington State University and Northwest Cider Association.

NABC pic

So the NABC are working with local growers on every possible front, whether it be initial business planning, education, marketing, processing or distribution outlets,  in order to enable a vibrant and strong agricultural base which in turn flows into the rest of the region and beyond.