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Chicago Food hubs connect producers, buyers


Evolving stories About Growing Food in a Big City

Chicago Food hubs connect producers, buyers

Cassandra West

Fresh Moves mobile market
The Fresh Moves mobile market at a West Side site.
The Fresh Moves mobile market at a West Side site.

The U. S. Department of Agriculture has compiled the first Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, which lists these innovative business models across the country—from Amissville, Va., to Salinas, Calif. The guide will interest those looking for businesses that connect producers with buyers.

"The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide is an important tool to help promote local and regional efforts to support small and medium-sized producers," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan says. "Food hubs play a critical role in developing stronger supply chains and addressing the infrastructure challenges while supporting food access, regional economic development and job creation."

Food hubs allow farmers, especially smaller ones, to meet the growing consumer demand for fresh, local food. The resource guide lists four Chicago food hubs. Two are nonprofits, Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market and Healthy Food Hub; two are privately held businesses, Goodness Greenness and Gourmet Gorilla. Fresh Moves is a mobile produce market that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved areas of Chicago, mainly on the West Side. (See our earlier post on Fresh Moves) Healthy Food Hub, through its biweekly market days, connects residents, mainly on the South Side, with fresh produce from regional and national farmers. (See our earlier post on the Healthy Food Hub.) Goodness Greeness is the Midwest’s leading source for fresh, organic produce and the largest privately held organic distributor in the country, according to its website. Gourmet Gorilla™ provides pre-schools, elementary and high school and other institutions, with breakfast, lunch and snacks delivered daily.

In 2011, USDA identified more than 170 food hubs operating around the country.