I just attended the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference. It is so fulfilling to me when someone seeks me out at a conference and thanks me for putting together the webinars. This happened several times at this conference. For instance, one woman working on a food hub in northern Vermont let me know that she has trouble finding resources to support her work. The webinars give her both the practical solutions for her work, and the feeling that she is not alone in her work.
This winter has seen some fantastic webinars!
November 29, 2012: Market-Based Models for Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Defining What Works - Watch the Archive
The Wallace Center is compiling what has been learned by working with thirty food enterprises from across the country which are focused on food access. These enterprises are all part of Wallace Center’s Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) program. In this webinar, program leaders share key highlights and takeaways resulting from this program, their expertise and additional research results. Presenters share many examples of innovative and effective strategies for moving food along the supply chain and helping consumers to ultimately purchase and consume healthy food.
January 17, 2013: Production Planning to Increase Market Efficiency: Reducing Financial Risk Through Food Hubs - Watch the archive
One benefit producers find working with food hubs is the long-term, transparent relationship characteristic of a value chain. Transparency can increase market efficiency by making an effort to find that inscrutable balance between supply and demand. The key to that process is production planning. A food hub has the valuable position of being in the middle of the transaction, so they have an understanding of what the buyers want, and the adjustments that producers can reasonably make to meet that demand.
Two food hubs present their very different methods for doing production planning. We also hear from a farmer to share his perspective - what is it like to cede some of the decision making for what to plant to your buyer?
.. and coming up...
February 21, 2013: On-farm Food Safety and Access to Larger Markets - Register now!
On-farm food safety is on the mind of those looking to support the success of small and mid-sized, sustainable producers. We will dig into two cutting edge issues:
More and more wholesale and institutional buyers are requiring on-farm food safety certification, making these markets extremely difficult to participate in for smaller farmers due to the expense of GAP auditing. The Wallace Center is working with USDA to identify and run several pilots at food hubs of a group GAP approach. Instead of the current "one farm, one audit" protocol, participants in a group GAP audit have their shared food safety system audited, and are audited as one body. This method opens markets to producers who would otherwise be priced out.
The Food and Drug Administration just released two proposed rules outlining new standards for produce safety and preventive controls for food processing and manufacturing. These two rules, along with existing food safety regimes, create a maze of challenges for the development and growth of local and regional food systems. Come learn about the new proposed rules, models for addressing food safety, and how to get involved in supporting sustainable food systems and safe food!
Thank you for helping to sow the seeds of change!