Past Programs: Maryland Food Hubs
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY
Maryland Food Hub Reports. In response to a request from the Maryland Legislature, in 2014, SMADC prepared the first summary report of emerging and existing food hubs across Maryland. SMADC conducted a study on existing and emerging food hubs in Maryland with an eye to identify collaborative and synergistic initiatives between the hubs as appropriate. SMADC undertook this report through a transparent process, inviting all hubs willing to participate. A substantial amount of initial information was compiled. A survey was then sent to all food hubs that could be identified in Maryland, with a relatively good response rate. The report helped identify areas of need and provided a blueprint for the state.
The report was shared with the food hubs and sent to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Department of Agriculture. SMADC was also awarded grant funds to explore national trends and explore further collaborative opportunities for Maryland food hubs with the Wallace Center at Winrock International and National Good Food Network in 2015 and 2016. These findings were published to SMADC’s website, and were shared with food hubs and interested parties.
June 2016 Food Hub Report SMADC worked with Wallace Center at Winrock International on a supplemental report: MARYLAND FOOD HUBS: SCALING FOOD SYSTEM IMPACT
September 2015 Food Hub Report: EXISTING AND EMERGING FOOD HUBS IN MARYLAND 2015
September 2014 Food Hub Report: EXISTING AND EMERGING FOOD HUBS IN MARYLAND 2014
State-wide Food Hub Convenings. SMADC coordinated convenings at existing regional food hubs. Each was designed to showcase the different models in operation, and build connections between those who operate, or are thinking of operating, food hubs. Attendees toured each operation with owners and operators, and held discussions that included topics to help the audience make initial decisions. Topics included feasibility and business planning, understanding the different food hub models and how they operate, food safety and regulation updates, market pricing, transportation and distribution, and financing and raising capital. All convenings had representation from all regions of Maryland, including Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern. At some events attendees came from the surrounding regions of Washington D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania. Many attendees were food hub operators, or emerging food hub operators. Some attendees were from food system backgrounds such as economic development and food policy, and brought a lot to the table during the discussion and Q&A sessions. One attendee wrote us after a convening and said, “Thank you for orchestrating this. Bringing the local food systems activist, practitioners and supporters together was an invaluable opportunity to share and network for the greater good of developing the Maryland local food system.” SMADC sees value in working together and places importance in continuing to pursue these endeavors and share lessons learned, cross-market, and work collectively as needed.
Timeline of Convenings:
- July 2014: Town Creek Foundation hosted the first-ever convening of food hubs in Maryland. The event was well received and many requested for the meetings to continue.
- July 2015: SMADC saw tremendous worth in sharing lessons learned, cross-marketing and working synergistically where possible, and therefore offered to help coordinate additional convenings. With funding from Town Creek Foundation, SMADC and the Wallace Center hosted a training session for Emerging and Early Stage Food Hubs in Anne Arundel County.
- November 2015: SMADC and other existing and emerging food hubs met for a tour and convening of Common Market, one of the oldest Food Hubs in the Mid-Atlantic.
- January 2016: SMADC and the Wallace Center held a discussion session about regional food hubs at the Future Harvest CASA annual event.
- May 2016: SMADC and existing and emerging food hubs met for a tour and discussion of Friends and Farms, a Maryland food hub. The tour was followed by a discussion with the Maryland Food Center Authority, the Wallace Center and other stakeholders about research underway on the existence of and potential for food hubs in Maryland.
- June 2016: SMADC and existing and emerging food hubs met for a tour and discussion of Chesapeake Farm to Table, a Maryland food hub. The final Wallace Center report was shared during the convening.
Southern Maryland Food Hub / Agricultural Business Park and Food Innovation Center. SMADC is in the process of developing a food hub for Southern Maryland. The first need identified by the community is for a reginal meat processing facility. More information and a timeline of this project can be found here: http://smadc.com/programs/MeatProcFacility.html
Partners: Town Creek Foundation, The Wallace Center
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