COMMUNITY FOOD HUBS - Rutgers food hubs provide a slight variation on this ... and aquaculture. ... deal with institutional buyers like schools and hospitals by creating the networks

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  • MANY THANKS TOAlena DAuria, Rutgers UndergraduateMargaret Brennan-Tonetta, Rutgers FICLou Cooperhouse, FIC and F&S Produce Co., Inc.Michael duBois, Rutgers FICLisanne Finston, Elijahs PromiseDouglas H. Fisher, NJ Secretary of AgricultureLorena Gaibor, Unity Square PartnershipKristina Guttadora, Farmers Against HungerPaul Helms, Elijahs PromiseDiane Holtaway, Rutgers FICShoufiul Islam, Rutgers FICAlbert Kelly, Mayor of BridgetonWes Kline, NJ Agricultural Experiment StationStephanos Koullias, Western Queens Compost InitiativeRichard Ludescher, Rutgers SEBSTom Manning, NJ Agricultural Experiment Station

    Jean Mahoney, Rutgers FICBruce Master, Rutgers FICNew Brunswick Community Gardening CoalitionNew Brunswick Food AllianceChristina Palassio, The StopGlen Patterson, City of New Brunswick PlanningJack Rabin, NJ Agriculture Experiment StationMark Robson, Rutgers SEBSJaymie Santiago, New Brunswick Community Farmers MarketSkylar, Rutgers FICTyler & Scott Thompson, XS SmithTerry & Patrick Viggiano, First FieldsFrank Wong, Rutgers Facilities and Capital Planning


    Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University Spring 2012 Community Development Studio

    Max AzzarelloAnthony CapeceMichael CassidyLaura ChamberlainBenjamin Faust

    Sarah FranklinJoshua JensenEmily JoinerBenjamin LogueJacklyn McFarlane

    Kathe NewmanAssociate Professor

    Director of the Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement

    May 2012

    For more information, contact

    Brandon McKoyMatthew SarsyckiDarius ScottCharlene SharpeCarolyn Worstell




    Introduction Food Hubs 101 Core Food Hub Functions Food Supply Chain Coordination Aggregation Marketing Distribution Permanent Facilities Other Services Organizational Structure and Focus Retail Food Hubs Consumer Food Hubs Producer Food Hubs Non-profit Food Hubs Community Food Hubs Components of a Community Food Hub Two Food Hubs in DetailThe Context for Creating a Food Hub in NJ Left Over Produce & Gleaning Food Processing and Manufacturing in New Jersey First Field ProfileA Food Hub in New Brunswick Existing Community Food Infrastructure Potential Community Partners Potential Buyers Related Services and Activities Potential Food Hub LocationsNext StepsICESDefinitionsAcronymsWorks CitedImage Credits




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    The Spring 2012 Community Development Studio worked with Elijahs Promise, the Rutgers University Food Innovation Center, and New Jersey Community Capital to increase food-related community development and to improve food security1. The studio explored the potential to create a community food hub in New Brunswick. As the USDA defines it, a food hub is a a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products (USDA: Food Hubs, 2011). While there are many variations in practice, the core idea is to help small and medium-sized farmers reach wholesale and/or retail customers within their region and to increase access to locally grown fresh food.

    There are at least 170 existing food hubs around the country and each looks slightly different depending on the context in which it emerged. Some food hubs focus on the core activities of food aggregation and distribution to streamline the food supply chain. Others provide a wealth of services to farmers to grow their businesses. Community food hubs provide a slight variation on this theme by adding services to achieve social, educational, community economic development, and community food security outcomes. They may provide education and job training, courses in food preparation and processing, summer internship programs, health classes, and some providing training on adjacent urban agriculture projects that include urban farms, high tunnels, and aquaculture.

    1 Elijahs Promise is a community based organization in New Brunswick that seeks to alleviate poverty and hunger by providing job training, small business development, education, jobs, and services. The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is an award winning food processing business incubator located in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The center provides an array of services to food related entrepreneurs and helps local communities and the state to grow food-related business through value-added production. New Jersey Community Capi-tal is a community economic development financial intermediary that helps community organizations access capital to revive neighbor-hoods. Ag in the City is a new statewide urban agriculture organization.

    COMMUNITY FOOD HUBS: COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD SECURITY IN NEW BRUNSWICKMax Azzarello, Laura Chamberlain, Sarah Franklin, Emily Joiner, Benjamin Logue, Jaclyn McFarlane, Darius Dante Scott, Carolyn Worstell

    Rosies Farm Stand

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    The interest in food hubs comes amidst an explosive demand for locally grown fresh food, a desire to improve food security, interest in improving public health outcomes by improving what people eat, and creativity about reviving local economies through food. On the production side, the number of small farms has been growing. To ensure stability and increase production and sales, smaller growers need larger markets (Diamond & Barnham, 2012). Virtually all food distribution occurs through large distributors, food brokers, and grower agents which and it is often hard for smaller farmers to access these networks (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 2012). Since produce is often sold to buyers at large terminal markets, food may travel vast distances from farms to wholesale markets, and then again from markets to stores (Swedson, 2008). While farmers markets enable farmers to directly reach consumers, farmers markets are often focused on small retail buyers and farmers find that moving the produce to the market and spending the day at each market is an expensive time consuming affair. Food hubs expand these efforts to reach larger scale wholesale consumers and provide services that farmers need. They work to get local produce to market to meet the increasing demand by the consumer.

    Crafted with community goals, they can improve community food security and enhance community economic development. More and more people are concerned about what they eat and many demand locally grown foods and/or access to fresh produce. Ninety percent of consumers would buy local produce if it were readily available (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 2012). While some communities and regions have reoriented food markets to consume food closer to where its grown, others have not. More than 23 million people in the United States lack access to fresh food and more than half of those people are low income (USDA: Food Deserts). Lacking access to fresh affordable food can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, among other health concerns and there is growing interest in improving access to healthy produce for all and especially for those who most need it.

    Addressing these issues can provide an array of local and regional economic benefits. The challenge is to organize the food supply chain in ways that facilitate the connection between consumers and growers to maximize benefits for all. A shift toward greater production of fresh market vegetables can yield greater revenues for local farmers (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 2012). The benefits of increasing local production extend beyond the farmers. Small-scale farms circulate money nearly twice as much as larger farms (Swenson, Eathington, & Chase, 2007). If consumers increase their consumption of local foods, they can return economic benefits to their communities. In a population of 130,000, for instance, if everyone consumed five locally-grown fruits and vegetables each day for the three months they are in season that would create 475 jobs and more than 6 million dollars of labor income (Swedson, 2008). Consuming more fresh produce may provide health benefits and reduce health costs. And reorienting the networks between farmers and consumers may reduce environmental costs of moving food over long distances and reduce the wear and tear on local highways as food is moved from place to place through complex distribution networks.

    In this report, we outline the food-related problems facing farmers and cities alike, examine the existing food economy in New Jersey, explore what food hubs and community food hubs are, and consider how they might work in New Jersey. The studio team reviewed reports and explored existing food hubs. We identified food hub challenges and benefits and researched the process communities use to create their food hubs. Since what a food hub is and how it works is context specific, in the second half of the report, we examine the existing food infrastructure in New Jersey, specifically addressing the states food economy challenges and opportunities. We conclude by highlighting ideas that emerged through the research process and suggest some next steps.

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    FOOD HUBS 101