Food Hub: Connecting Regional Producers & Consumers
Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 9th, 2010
The locavore movement may be focusing new interest on locally produced food, but regional farmers, ranchers and fishermen continue to struggle to find a market for their products. That’s as true in the Pacific Northwest as everywhere else, which is why Portland, Ore., nonprofit Ecotrust created FoodHub.
Launched late last year, FoodHub aims to increase food trade in the Pacific Northwest by connecting food buyers of all types and sizes with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food manufacturers. For food sellers, FoodHub offers an easy way to let buyers know what products are available and how to make contact to complete a sale. For food buyers—including local restaurants, public schools, grocery stores, caterers, universities and hospitals—FoodHub provides a robust database of food products that are available. Customisable search features allow a buyer to hone in on the exact product specifications they’re seeking — “pallet quantities of Northwest-grown certified organic black eyed peas,” for example. After paying an annual membership fee of USD 100, both buyers and sellers can create detailed online profiles; FoodHub’s message center, meanwhile, streamlines communications.
Deborah Kane, vice president of Ecotrust’s Food & Farms program, explains:“FoodHub is designed to be a one-stop-shop for the chef who needs six dozen artichokes for a menu special, the baker looking for a local source for flour, or the large institutional food buyer whose purchasing power could significantly stabilise a family farm.”
Currently, FoodHub is open to food buyers and sellers of all types in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. However, Ecotrust intends to make the FoodHub platform available to qualified partners in other parts of the country as well.