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Cornell University Cooperative Enterprise Program

Building Successful Food Hubs in the Northeastern United States

The Cornell University Cooperative Enterprise Program (CEP) has examined opportunities for food hub development in the northeastern United States. Food hubs aggregate, market, and distribute local, source-identified products. They are a gateway for small and mid-sized farmers and producers to access intermediary buyers, i.e. wholesalers, distributors, retail grocery, restaurants, institutions, etc. The CEP has focused on research useful to persons or organizations interested in developing a food hub enterprise. Project partners in this effort include the Cooperative Development Center, Keystone Development Center and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Associations located in Essex, Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis Counties. Appreciation is also expressed to the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture for their support of “Building the Success of Food Hubs Through the Cooperative Experience and the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program at the U. S. Department of Agriculture administered through the NYS Department of Agriculture for their support of Opportunities for Food Hub Development in Northern New York.


Building Success of Food Hubs Through the Cooperative Experience - A Case Study Perspective

Building Success of Food Hubs Through the Cooperative Experience - A Case Study Perspective

The Executive Summary of Building Success of Food Hubs Through the Cooperative Experience – A Case Study Perspective, identifies in on the best practices of cooperatives to address key challenges of food hubs

View the following to learn more about specific practices in:

 



 



 




See these presentations


Building Success of Food Hubs Through the Cooperative Experience - A Case Study
Provides additional insights into each of the cooperative case studies.

The Cooperative Advantage Description
Showcases the formation of the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative

Cooperative Food Hubs - Structure and Start Up
Focuses on multiple business models and process to form a cooperative

Growing Values Through Cooperatives
Provides examples of shared-ownership food hubs

Project Case Studies

Eden Valley Growers

Tuscarora Organic Growers

Upstate NY Growers & Packers

Capital District Cooperative

Interested in forming a cooperative-owned food hub?

Contact:

Cooperative Development Institute, Northampton, MA

Keystone Development Center, Ephrata, PA



Opportunities for Food Hub Development in Northern New York

Opportunities for Food Hub Development in Northern New York examined the attitudes and expectations of 125 producers and 27 buyers to investigate the need and likelihood of doing business with a food hub in Northern New York

The Executive Summary of Opportunities for Food Hub Development in Northern NY pinpoints key findings of the report and suggests next steps to move forward.

Report of Findings Related to Food Hub Development in NNY summarizes the data collected from producers, buyers, and consumers.

Producer Strategies for Working Together examines strategies on building collaborations, enhancing existing business opportunities and building new business opportunities.


Guides to Develop Food Hub Enterprises

Three modules were developed to assist persons in moving a food hub enterprise from concept to launch. The modules are sequential and include a list of actions to be taken to achieve specific outcomes along with the persons who will be involved in the process.

Module 1. Identifying the Opportunity
This module focuses on testing the concept of a food hub, developing a project steering committee, moving forward with a feasibility analysis, and evaluating the appropriate business structure.

Module 2. Creating the Food Hub Business
This module focuses on organizing the business including the necessary legal documents, developing a leadership team, securing commitment from producers, and developing a business plan.

Module 3. Launching the Food Hub Business
This module identifies the systems that need to be in place to start the business, necessary staffing, and considerations for future success.


Supplemental Information

Assessing the Need for a Food Hub

Food Hub Expectations of Farmer-Producers

Relationship Building for New Food Hubs


Supplemental Resources

Brockhouse, John W. Jr. and James J. Wadsworth. 2010. Vital Steps: A Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Washington, D.C. Service Report 58. December.

Henehan, Brian M. and Bruce L. Anderson. 2001. Considering Cooperation: A Guide For New Cooperative Development. Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management. Ithaca, NY.

Rapp, Galen, and Gerald Ely. 2010 (revised). How to Start a Cooperative. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Washington, D.C. Cooperative Information Report 7. November.

Vanderburgh-Wertz, Darrow and Malani Ram Moraghan. 2014. Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit. Wholesome Wave. Bridgeport, CT. March.

New York State-New York City Regional Food Hubs Final Action Plan. NYS-NYC Regional Food Hubs Task Force. Albany, NY. (2016)


Useful Links

Cooperative Development Centers

USDA Agriculture Marketing Service

National Good Food Network

Managing Cash Flow for a Low Capital Food Hub Start-up
Webinar

Using Accounting Software for Food Hubs: Processing Traceable Orders
Production Planning for Aggregators