Indiana food hub to take online orders

Beginning this Friday consumers interested in buying Indiana-grown food products can begin placing their orders online through the Hoosier Harvest Market.  Organized by Purdue Extension, the Hoosier Harvest Market is a cooperative through which consumers can order locally produced foods at any time.  Roy Ballard, Hancock County Purdue Extension educator says Hoosiers will now have the opportunity to support their local producers directly through a virtual marketplace.

Based in Greenfield, Hoosier Harvest Market will deliver throughout central Indiana. 

Those interested in ordering can learn more at www.hoosierharvestmarket.com.

USDA releases Regional Food Hub Guide

The USDA has unveiled a first-ever Regional Food Hub Resource guide for small and medium-sized producers to help them grab more market share. Deputy Ag Secretary Kathleen Merrigan tells Brownfield the USDA with several partners has identified 170 regional food hubs.

But, Brownfield asked, what are food hubs? Merrigan say they are businesses and organizations that connect producers with buyers – offering the things those farmers lack such as volume, cold storage or equipment.

Merrigan says, “Some of these are run as farmer cooperatives – people are familiar with that notion out in the countryside – others are not. But, it’s a way that farmers can aggregate product and provide the volume of zucchini or the volume of cheese or the volume of whatever it is that the food hub is sourcing, so that institutional buyers say, ‘Yeah, I can work with that.’”

Merrigan says there are physical food hubs, for example, there’s, “‘Grown Locally’ in Decorah, Iowa, established in 1999. It works with 30 producers to sell a wide variety of produce to wholesale institutions and distributors, including Sodexo, for a local college.”

And, Merrigan says there are virtual food hubs, “Another example,” says Merrigan, “Would be the local food hub in Portland, Oregon which uses an online platform to connect local producers and buyers to grow the local food system in the Pacific Northwest.”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service food hub guide

2012 IYC: The Lost River Market and Deli

In Orange County Indiana the town of Paoli had just a few options for residents to do their shopping.  Debbie Turner, a past steering committee member for the Lost River Market and Deli says while those places serve a purpose, the community felt they were under served.  “We would often ask members of the community how often they would go over an hour away for a major grocery shopping excursion,” she says.  The general answer was once a month.  Turner says the question then became “How do we keep them buying here?” and “How do we keep their dollars local?”

Lost River Market and Deli is Paoli’s member-owned food cooperative dedicated to serving the needs of local growers, producers and consumers. 

They operate on the seven cooperative principles, one of which is concern for the community.  Turner says between the Orange County farmer’s markets and the local vendors that supply the store they generate over $250,000 every year that wasn’t in circulation before.  She tells Brownfield it’s more than just reinvesting into the community, “it’s about the power that you have to make that change.”

In its fifth year, the Lost River Market and Deli in Paoli, Indiana is holding its own and continues to come together to support their local community.