Food Hub Group to Examine Viability for Kansas City Region

The KC Food Hub Working Group has received funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas Health Foundation to study the feasibility of a regional food hub.

The year-long study will shed light on trends in institutional purchasing of locally produced food, farmers’ production capacities, and the obstacles they face in scaling up food production to meet the increasing demands of institutional purchasers, which include hospitals, schools.

Food hubs are businesses or organizations that cooperatively manage the packaging, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of locally produced food in order to help farmers with small operations move their products to a broader market.

This innovative business model can take on many forms depending on the needs of the farmers and their customers. Some food hubs are permanent facilities where farmers deliver their harvest for packaging and distribution. Others operate virtually, with the of computer software to organize the flow of products from farm to market.

Whatever it looks like, a regional food hub could improve the health of Kansas City’s people and its economy.

“Ultimately, this project is about creating infrastructure that supports a healthy regional food system,” said Emily Miller, Policy and Planning Associate of KC Healthy Kids, who will coordinate the project.

“It would mean that farmers could sustainably produce larger volumes of food in an extended growing season, which in turn would increase the availability of fresh, healthy, local food for schools and hospitals.” Miller said.

The increased access to healthy food would benefit the region’s hungry, an estimated 14-15 percent of the populations of Kansas and Missouri, according to the Food Research and Action Center’s 2012 State of the States report. Community partners including Society of Saint Andrews West and Beans & Greens are helping the group identify opportunities to distribute food hub produce to Kansas City’s most vulnerable populations.


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