USDA: ‘Building Successful Food Hubs’

The 2014 Food Hub Collaboration Conference was held recently in North Carolina and the USDA Agricultural Marketing service used the occasion to announce their co-operative agreement with familyfarmed.org to develop an ‘Building Better Food Hubs’ national guide. At the conference, the Agricultural Marketing Service said that “the number of food hubs has risen by 65 percent since 2009, and there are now more than 230 operational around the country. On average, each food hub supports 20 jobs and generates nearly $4 million in annual sales”.

The guide is the latest in a stream of useful resources that seem to be pouring out of the U.S. at the moment. While our regulatory and policy frameworks are different in Australia, the issues are very common and this work is a huge inspiration. Locally, the recent withdrawal of the Community Food Grants program by the federal government has indicated that our own Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has a very different focus – the speakers at the recent Global Food Forum held in Sydney also indicate that our national emphasis is still on corporatising rather than relocalising our food systems.

Nonetheless, there are several organisations around the country working to transform the food system, such as ourselves, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance and Food Connect Foundation along with the hundreds of state and regional initiatives that are always emerging across the country.

By drawing on inspiring resources from around the world and co-operating with our friends across Australia, we hope that soon we’ll be able to make similar statements about the impact of Food Hubs on Australia’s Local Food Economy. If you are, or think you could be a Food Hub, please take 3 minutes to complete our survey so we can co-operate with you too.

Onwards and Outwards!