Winrock International

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Winrock matches innovative approaches in agriculture, natural resources management, clean energy and leadership development with the unique needs of its partners. By linking local individuals and communities with new ideas and technology, Winrock is increasing long-term productivity, equity and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.
Oct 24, 2013

National Food Hub Conference

We are so excited to announce the upcoming 2014 National Food Hub Conference: March 26-28 in Raleigh, NC! The theme for this year’s conference is “Building Capacity for Healthy Regional Food Systems” and will be a landmark event for food hub managers and staff, technical assistance providers, government and nonprofit support organizations, and agricultural producers. The conference will feature:

  • Multiple tracks for food hub managers and staff
  • Networking and learning for support organizations, consultants and agencies
  • "Ask an Expert": slots of one-on-one time to dig deep with various technical assistance experts
  • Food hub and food business tours
  • Opportunities to learn from your peers, network, and feel a part of an incredibly energetic community
  • Excellent local food from Eastern Carolina Organics, Firsthand Foods, and other local suppliers.

Registration opens in November. For more information, visit us at:

Coming up:

Tools for Improving Farmer Financial Skills – November 21 – Register now!
Farming is a business, but many farmers are not armed with all of the tools to manage their farm finances. Farmer trainers now have a new resource in their arsenal - a curated collection of tools to address this critical issue, and people to help them incorporate them into their curricula. Join us for an introduction to the tool library, and several of the tools.

Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners – December 12 – Register now!
Food banks have tremendous infrastructure, and a commitment to feeding people nutritious food. Several food banks across the country are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Join us for some holiday-time inspiration.

And from the archives:

FSMA Comments for Food Hubs - an NGFN Food Hub Collaboration webinar – view the recording
Almost all food hubs are subject to new oversight under the FDA's proposed food safety regulations. These regulations ARE ABLE TO BE CHANGED to better fit your operations, but in order for modifications to suit your needs, you must tell FDA what your needs are.

The means for affecting change is through comments to the FDA. The rules are complicated, and well-reasoned comments will be given more weight as FDA edits the rules.

This webinar is intended to give you the information you need to make a good comment so that regulations meet the need of keeping food safe, but do not seriously negatively affect your business.

Food Hubs and Farm to School
Farm to school programs have been very successful at getting good, healthy, local, whole foods to our nation's students. However, some schools and districts find that their school food service professionals, who already have so many responsibilities, have limited time and resources for managing food aggregation logistics. Food hubs hold great promise to help.

In Chicago, Gourmet Gorilla focuses its operations on the school market. With convenient online ordering for schools either on a monthly or daily basis, Gourmet Gorilla offers healthy, sustainable, local food sourced from many different area suppliers. And because Gourmet Gorilla is founded on providing food with values, there is assurance that what is served to the kids is wholesome and good.

In Michigan, Cherry Capital Foods, a food hub with diverse markets, counts schools as an important one. They have had excellent successes, such as a large contract with traditional foodservice provider Chartwells, becoming a USDA approved vendor, and a partnership with a local nonprofit in a farm to school project.

These examples of food hubs enabling farm to school are sure to inspire you to consider working with your area food hubs for your work.

State of the Food Hub - National Survey Results
Food hubs - businesses or organizations that actively manage 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 – hold incredible promise for positive impacts. At the middle of the food value chain, hubs’ influence on the economy, social equity, and the environment can be great.

Proponents and detractors alike, including funders, academics and food hub managers, are seeking real data that can better explain the scope and scale of food hub activities and their influence on their regions. In early 2013, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems in cooperation with the Wallace Center at Winrock International surveyed over 100 food hubs across the country to understand their businesses, their impacts and their challenges. Join us for this webinar as we present the State of the Food Hub.

Key findings from the report are presented including:

  • The operating structures that food hubs have taken on
  • Food hub’s employee and management profiles
  • Information about food hub producers and customers 
  • Information regarding the financial status of food hubs
  • Major challenges and barriers to growth faced by food hubs
Oct 18, 2013

Hardy Antiques: Testimonial

Martha Wilson, Hardy Antiques, shares her story.
Martha Wilson, Hardy Antiques, shares her story.

“The Operation JumpStart Program sponsored by Winrock International’s Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service was just what I needed to begin my second career and make the transition from living and working in Tennessee to Arkansas. The course I attended was held in the fall of 2012 and I purchased Hardy Antiques January 1st 2013, so the timing could not have been better.

The classes were held at different Ozarka College locations in Melbourne, Salem and Ash Flat and traveling to them afforded me the opportunity to get to know these towns and some of the business people in them. The class material, handouts and the workbook we were furnished were well organized and chocked full of information, everything you would need to start and maintain a small business in Arkansas. I loved the real life examples of a small business owner's journey, the successes and missteps. The instructors gave us direction on how and where to apply for business permits, get sales and use tax and Federal ID numbers. In addition to the textbook material, we had interesting guest speakers; an attorney, accountant, publisher, banker, as well as established small business owners. These professionals gave us the good, the bad, and the ugly side of owning your own business. We had a beautiful "graduation" dinner when we completed the course and we gathered with instructors, classmates and friends to celebrate.

After completing the course we continue to have periodic follow up and interaction with our facilitator. After the Operation JumpStart class, the AWBC arranged two seminars on using Facebook and creating a Website for small business, which I attended. Nine months into this life changing event I am paying the bills, with a little to spare, and I feel good about it. I am truly thankful for the Operation JumpStart Program and the people involved in it. The name really fits what it is and what it does. It gave me the jumpstart I needed at just the right time in my life.”

Martha Wilson, Owner


Sep 3, 2013

Women Advising Women Farmers

Women advising Women Farmers (August 31, 2013)

By Henk Knipscheer - Senior Associate

Since the last update of March 31, 2013, the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund has made progress on two fronts, i.e. scholarship promotion and scholarship fund raising.  Scholarships for rural female extension agents have been advertised in the three target countries, Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria. Despite the relatively short window for application, numerous applications have been received. These applications are presently being evaluated. Mid-September, successful candidates will be informed about their selection. The scholarships will be mentored in collaboration with the Sasakawa Fund for Extension Education Program (SAFE). SAFE is committed to addressing faculty gender imbalances in agricultural extension education. By targeting female candidate students, the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund will help improving the gender balance in rural advisory services.

In June, Winrock was informed of the commitment by Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), of an additional USD 50,000 for the scholarships. SAA is a Nippon Foundation sponsored program (also known as Sasakawa Global 2000) that was the institutional home of Christopher Dowswell for many years. This gift will be announced during the next World Prize award ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, in October. 

On behalf of Winrock, the Dowswell family and our partners in the SAFE program, we thank all donors
for their generous support.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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