What is a food hub?
A food hub aggregates and distributes fresh, locally raised and grown food to the people who live closest to it.
Why a food hub?
- Enable small and mid-sized farms to increase revenue
- Increases access to fresh, healthful food
- Create and sustain local businesses
- Fight food insecurity
- Facilitate regional stakeholder network
- Bolster local agricultural economy
- Create jobs
Appalachian Food Works (AFW) operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the commonwealth of PA, and brokers, aggregates, packages, stores, and distributes locally grown and raised products to local markets (e.g., restaurants, stores, schools, institutions). For the purposes of our initial phase, we are defining “local” as Centre County and surrounding counties.
This food hub will work to maintain each farm’s brand identity and assist with education and mentorship should a farm choose to diversify. Additionally, an effort will be made to increase food access in central PA to low-income and rural households. Furthermore, an agriculture and food business incubator will eventually be incorporated into the physical home for operations.
Ensure food grown and raised in central PA gets into the stomachs of those who live in central PA, with a focus on creating a more equitable food system starting with the farmer.
Phase One of this concept will initially focus on restaurants near State College who wish to buy meat and dairy from area farms. Subsequent phases will include a direct-to-consumer component, as well as selling products to schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and other institutions. Expansion of product line will include produce (both fresh and frozen), eggs, and poultry processing and sales.
Other future aspects of AFW could include a commercial test kitchen, giving food entrepreneurs the ability to test recipes and make small batches of product, thereby creating a one of a kind food incubator in Centre County. Further, we will evaluate the demand for private label, value add products such as a line of frozen vegetables.