A food hub is a centrally located facility with services designed to support the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of food products produced in a region. In addition to economic benefits, the coordinated and consolidated movement of food commodities helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion – two of SRTA’s regional priorities. SRTA received a $125,000 Strategic Partnerships grant from Caltrans to study the feasibility and potential benefits of a food hub located in the Shasta Region. New Venture Advisors is currently under contract with SRTA to perform this study.
SRTA has contracted with New Venture Advisors, a consultant firm specializing in local food system planning and food business development, to support stakeholder outreach and perform financial feasiblity analysis. Based on early findings and feedback from active participants in the agriculture industry supply chain (i.e. producers, transporters, buyers, etc.), it has been determined that a bricks-and-mortar food hub is premature without intermediate steps.
Prior to investing in a bricks-and-mortar food hub, medium-sized producers need a reason to scale-up production and a way to be more cost competitive. To accomplish this, the project scope was revised to focus on:
1) Increasing market demand for North State agricultural commodities by developing a purchase agreement with a high- volume buyer in the Sacramento area; and
2) Reducing the cost of transporting agricultural products to market by developing a plan for consolidating the collection and delivery of commodities to the high-volume buyer.
Once the critical volume of commodities and value of transactions has been established, a bricks-and-mortar food hub may become the natural next step and ready for additional private capital investment.Project partners Superior California Economic Development and Growing Local are also providing technical support.