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Hub and Spoke Program

The Hub and Spoke model of food distribution is designed to increase the Hub and Spoke Logoavailability of fresh, local farm food to the hunger community in the five counties of Southern Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties).

While many anti-hunger organizations are providing food for those in need, donations to these organizations tend heavily toward bulk, packaged products with a deficit of fresh produce. Moving bulk fresh produce often requires its own distribution needs. At the same time, Maryland farmers often have vegetables or fruit that are surplus or slightly blemished and therefore not marketable at full retail value. The Hub and Spoke has provided a market for this produce. Notably, it has also provided a market for dropped accounts by large wholesalers, and an outlet for what would otherwise be considered food waste. A Maryland Hub and Spoke Task Force convened in 2013 to study the needs, challenges and opportunities of the region. The Task Force's findings and recommendations were published in a final REPORT. From this, a partnership between the SOUTHERN MARYLAND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION and FARMING 4 HUNGER was formed, and the Hub and Spoke model was built and tested in the region.

The hope is that farmers will be offered a financial incentive for their donation through a proposed Maryland tax credit (to help cover the cost of production, harvest and delivery). The bill was brought forth in the Maryland General Assembly in FY’14 (SB0670 and HB1083), FY’15 (SB0280 and HB0359), and FY’16 (SB249 and read in the House). To date the bill has not passed, but has been favorable. Despite the passage of the bill, the program has carried on, and in many cases, Farming 4 Hunger has been able to provide a financial incentive to farmers.

Program highlights:

  • SMADC funds expended to Farming 4 Hunger have amounted to $74,790, resulting in over $670,000 in revenue to 29 farms and 4,241,230 pounds of fresh, local produce.
  • The program continues to make connections and partnerships with Southern Maryland farms.
  • The program helped to expand the variety of produce from 3 types (2013) to 20 types of produce offered (2016). Variety includes: Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Cabbage, Watermelon, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Cantaloupe, Squash, Kale, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Eggplant, Lettuce, Green Beans, Peppers, Apples, and Broccoli.
  • The perishable food is in its freshest state at the arrival to the Spoke sites, typically in the hands of those who need it within 24-48 hours of harvest. A truck previously drove down and back from Baltimore, to sites all over Southern Maryland; this new model for our rural area keeps locally-grown food local, and provides quality over quantity.

Some farms donate directly to a Spoke in their neighborhood. Many of these partnerships have gone so well that the pantries have reduced having to buy canned vegetables and fruits, thus providing its community fresher and tastier foods. Farms who donate regularly, did not receive funds in FY’15 or FY’16, and would have received the benefit of the Maryland Tax Credit for Farm Food Donations, had it existed.

In 2015, the Hub and Spoke implemented a measurement tool to assess the impact of the distribution of fresh, local fruits and vegetables from Southern Maryland farms. The objective of the survey was to gather baseline data on the clients receiving fresh food through the distribution sites. The survey provided information beyond basic measures (pounds of food delivered, number of families served, etc.) such as the extent of the unmet need for fresh food, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about fresh food, and the program’s impact on social well-being and community engagement. This was helpful to the program stakeholders. The findings of the survey were published in a final REPORT. The survey is intended to be adaptable to the needs of any community and to be replicated and shared with other communities around the state. The Hub and Spoke program is set-up to be shared and replicated in other areas.

How to get involved:

Farm Donations: If you a farmer who is interested in donating and need assistance finding a place to donate to, please contact us.

Become a Spoke: If you are interested in becoming a Spoke, please contact us.

More information:

Maps:  Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future provides an overview of food and farms on their interactive state-wide map, The Maryland Food System Map. SMADC collaborated with John Hopkins in 2014 to create a comprehensive, interactive food map of Southern Maryland food systems which will allow users to overlay data in various areas (agriculture, food distribution, health) in order to aid in the mapping of the Hub and Spoke system. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SOUTHERN MARYLAND FOOD MAP.

Presentation: CLICK HERE TO VIEW SMADC'S "SOWING SEEDS," a presentation on connecting hard-to-reach rural communities with access to fresh food.

Food hub reports: 
New! MARYLAND FOOD HUBS: SCALING FOOD SYSTEM IMPACT 
2015 EXISTING AND EMERGING FOOD HUBS IN MARYLAND 

2014 EXISTING AND EMERGING FOOD HUBS IN MARYLAND

CONTACT SMADC:
phone: 301-274-1922 ex: *1
email: INFO@SMADC.COM

CONTACT Farming 4 Hunger:
email: FARMING4HUNGER@GMAIL.COM

 

 

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Read more about SMADC's role in healthy communities:
[EBT/SNAP] [So. Md Food Council] [CORNELIA] [CROP HOP]

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Read more about these SMADC programs:

[So. Maryland, So Good] [Southern Maryland Meats]
[Buy Local Challenge] [Maryland Farmlink]
[Southern Maryland Trails] [Cornelia and the Farm Band]

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