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Cooperatives and Food Hubs

Food Hub truck (Source Leopold Center/Iowa State.)“A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.” [National Food Hub Collaboration]

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

"The Food Hub Directory lists businesses or organizations that actively manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand." Food hub managers may add their market to the database.

USDA. Rural Development.

"This report presents an overview of the myriad issues facing food hubs across the United States." The authors includes a definition of a food hub, examine the rationale for food hub formation, and explore the economic role of food hubs. The report includes "some of the many organizational structures and services that food hubs offer, including the emerging area of virtual food hubs," and provides examples of the challenges and limitations faced by food hubs.

National Good Food Network; Wallace Center at Winrock International; United States Department of Agriculture.

A Web portal on food hubs featuring webinars, publications, educational materials, contributed resources, food hub feasibility studies, conference proceedings, research and more.

University of California (Davis).  Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP).

A collection of publications and literature reviews that "explore opportunities and challenges for food hubs and VBSC implementation, and can be used as resources for participants interested in orienting their work toward values-based marketing and distribution."

USDA. Rural Development. Service Report 77. April 2015.

Part of a multi-volume series, this report "compiles a number of best business practices for starting or expanding a food hub enterprise." "It includes operational profiles of the food hubs profiled in the report."

USDA. Rural Development. Service Report 77. Volume II. July 2015.

Part of a multi-volume series, this report "focuses on operational issues faced by food hubs," including organization, infrastructure, logistics, risks, and human resources, among others.

USDA. Rural Development. Service Report 77. Volume III. March 2016.

The purpose of this report "is to provide benchmarks for established and emerging food hubs to use as a comparison for assessing their own financial viability and for making strategic business decisions."

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

"This resource guide is designed to give readers a greater understanding of what regional food hubs are, their impacts, strategies to assist their success and growth, and direction on where to find
financial resources to support them."

USDA. Rural Development.

This collection of publications provides education about the structure and operations of cooperatives and for groups forming cooperatives, studies of various cooperative issues, annual farm cooperative statistics, co-op directories, and a bi-monthly magazine, Rural Cooperatives, contains articles and news items relevant to agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

"Food value chains represent an innovative business model in which agricultural producers, manufacturers, buyers, and other related supply chain actors form collaborative, transparent partnerships that attempt to combine product differentiation strategies with commitment to shared operational values and social mission goals. Food hubs are an important subset of food value chains."

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