Food hubs act as aggregators and distributors of regionally-grown produce from small and medium-sized growers. Food hubs specialize in connecting growers with customers and assisting with the delivery and marketing of their products. Food hubs are emerging around the country as an answer to the need for infrastructure that can support the logistics of bringing farm fresh food direct from the family farm to the plates at schools and other organizations that feed students, residents and other members of the community.
Services provided by Fresh Connect include coordination of the buyer’s produce needs, food safety training for producers and buyers, technical assistance to growers, marketing, and delivery of fresh produce to customers.
Fresh Connect Food Hub began its pilot season in 2014, serving primarily schools. By the end of the pilot season, Fresh Connect began to expand into other institutional markets including a hospital, preschool and a nursing home, The first official season was held in 2015 and doubled the number of buyers participating which included; hospitals, nursing homes, child care centers, higher education food service, schools and as well as a resort.
As the 2016 season continues, Fresh Connect Food Hub is working with multiple small to midsize growers to provide fresh, locally grown, nutrient dense produce to 30 buyers throughout the West Central Region of Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota.If you are an interested grower or would like more information about becoming a customer, please contact Melissa Mattson at 218-739-3273 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Listen to a radio interview with Dana Rieth