Puget Sound Food Hub helps to meet growing demand for local, sustainable food
In 2010, the Puget Sound Food Hub began as a farmer-owned cooperative operating in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Today the Food Hub works with nearly 50 local food producers to serve restaurants, institutions, organizations, and wholesale accounts. The Food Hub helps small farms connect with large commercial buyers by providing a website to list products, cold storage and distribution.
What are the benefits to a local food hub?
First, the process is transparent from field to kitchen: the products are never mixed or combined with another farmer’s product. The farms own their product through the supply chain: their production methods are transparent and food is traceable to the farm.
Second, it opens up new markets for farmers to deal directly with businesses and institutional buyers who may seek local products, and who purchase large volumes of food, but typically do not have the time to shop at farmers markets or farm stands themselves.
Third, for the buyers, the food is fresher than any typical distributor’s offerings. Fresh produce is often picked the day before it reaches the customer. It’s ripe and in season. Buyers also have access to greater varieties of vegetables, fruits, livestock breeds that are not typical in the current commodity market.
And last but certainly not least, the traveling distance between farm to customer is shortened compared to bigger distributors which in turn, significantly decreases carbon emissions and transportation. Producer farms operate within the 6 counties of northwest Washington including: Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, and King.
The Puget Sound Food Hub also works with hunger-relief organizations throughout Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties to provide boxes of fresh produce to neighbors in need.
Born out of the pandemic, the #WeFeedWA program — funded by Washington State Department of Agriculture — ensures that families have access to high-quality food. Every week, a team at the Hub packs over 1,400 boxes. Inside the box you’ll find a well-rounded mix of fruits and vegetables grown by local farms, along with a recipe card that offers ideas for how to use the bounty. When we visited the Food Hub on Wednesday, over 1,487 boxes of fresh local produce were packed up. In each box: 2 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of red potatoes, 2 pounds of beets, 1½ pounds of apples, one large head of cabbage, and 2 pounds of leeks. Yum!
We’re very grateful for the Puget Sound Food Hub, not only for believing in the Genuine Skagit Valley program and for their Founding Membership status, but for their belief in the values of social responsibility and caring for others. Thank you Puget Sound Food Hub!