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The impetus behind Food Hubs tends to come from groups of people in communities that are seeking to create more scale for their local food initiatives. Farmer’s markets and CSA’s have demonstrated demand for local foods, but they have not been sufficiently scalable to serve larger customers. This has led to the desire to create mechanisms for aggregation, the idea being that a Hub could aggregate production from multiple farms to serve the needs of larger customers, whether they be large retailers, food service distributors, schools or other institutional buyers. Many initiatives are being implemented around the country, with many different services being offered to farmers and many different go-to-market strategies and business model paths.

There are cross-docking brokerage food hubs, which act as a sales agent and organizes its suppliers to consolidate shipments at a central facility without holding inventory. There are stocking distributor food hubs that purchase large quantities (typically pallet or truckload quantities) at wholesale prices from a wide range of suppliers, hold them in inventory, and then sell and transport smaller quantities of a range of products to a wide variety of smaller retail and/or food service businesses.

All Organizations – Food Pantries Included – Can Innovate On Their Business Model

10 minute Free read by Edible-Alpha®

The business model is the sum of all the things that ensures the organization sustainably makes money and delivers on its core products, services and mission. What many food entrepreneurs don't often realize is that innovation comes not just in the form of new products or services, but also in their business model.

Article about Business Models for businesses that are Pre-Venture | Startups

Hospital-Based Farming – A Bridge To Community Health And Wellness

55 minutes of Free audio content by Edible-Alpha®

The farm isn’t just a physical location that grows produce - it is part of a commitment by the hospital system to extend healthcare and wellness beyond the hospital campus and empower the community to lead healthier lives. They operate a CSA, a farmers market, community events and a Product To Patients program.

Podcast about Operations for businesses that are Startups

The Chesterhill Produce Auction: A Catalyst For Produce Producers

1 hour of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

The auction focuses on getting smaller producers in the area to the scale to where they can sell and get attention for their products. Last year the auction grossed over $300,000, with the auction taking a 16% commission for all vegetables sold.

Podcast about Sales and Marketing for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Ron Williams Junior

This Food Hub Leverages A Diverse Food Shed For A Resilient Future

40 minutes of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

Dorchesters Farm Food Hub aggregates and tries to ensure consistent supply of seafood and farm products (fruit, produce, livestock) and then redistributes to areas that are historically under-served via direct delivery of fresh and healthy food options, giving its customers lots of choice and flexibility.

Podcast about Operations for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Old Fort Market Gardens

The Farmer Education Continuum In The Colorado Mountains

55 minutes of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

The Old Fort at Hesperus' team sees farming education as a continuum where different people are best served by discreet programs, depending on their interests and stage of development. Their sustainable agriculture program includes an educational garden internship, a farmer-in-training program, and market garden incubator.

Podcast about Business Models for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Misty Farmstead

Value-Added Producer Grants With Jim Gage

1 hour & 10 minutes of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

While the VAPG grant can be complicated (for example, a 75 page application plus Business Plan and third-party Feasibility Study), it requires applicants to critically consider expansion of the customer base and the marketplace for products as well as demonstrate how they will have sufficient business structures, profit and cash flow to operate in the long-term.

Podcast about Raising Capital for businesses that are Pre-Venture | Startups

Keewaydin Farms

Rightsizing The Ship: A Farmer’s Tale of Scaling Down

1 hour & 40 minutes of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

This hub discovered that the bigger the business got, the more money it lost and that moving aggregation functions off of the owner's farm caused the operation to be less efficient at that level of sales. The owner chose to contract the business to focus on getting profitable and repaying existing suppliers.

Podcast about Business Models for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Seal The Seasons Blueberries Berry Blend

How Seal The Seasons Matches Mission With Scale

1 hour of Free audio by Edible-Alpha®

Seal The Seasons began production in one of the partitions of a shared-use commissary kitchen facility where they installed an Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) production freezer, later partnering with a co-packer in 2017 and almost doubled their gross margin contributions as a result, passing more money to their farmer suppliers.

Podcast about Operations for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Adding Value to Farm Products: The Legal Issues

26 pages of Free report content by Farm Commons

The decision to add a value-added line is a serious one. There is no single set of laws that apply to value-added products and no single definition of a value added product. Instead, each law may have its own specific definition. This guide helps you to navigate what to look for in terms of legal implications when you are adding value to your products.

Books or Guide about Operations for businesses that are Growing and Scaling

Calculating Your Cash Flow

Cash Flow Basics (For Farmers)

11 minute Free read by Compeer Financial

Tight cash flow can be challenging, even for the most experienced grower. For a beginning farmer, however, a cash flow crunch can quickly become a disaster. An annual cash flow projection is a very useful tool for a farm. You plot out on a month-by-month basis when cash income will be received and when cash expenses will need to be paid.

Article about Operations for businesses that are Pre-Venture | Startups