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Winrock International

Food Hub Operations

Food Hub Supply Chain Risks

Wednesday March 11th, 2:15-3:45
This interactive session aims to build capacity for food system practitioners, such as food hub managers and staff, through new knowledge sharing, individual and group activities in the area of supply chain risk management. The session includes presentations that are new in their type to systematically identify and assess food hub supply chain risks. Presentations use current primary data collected from U.S. food hub managers. The presentations also include visual slides demonstrating practical methodology on how to identify and assess food hub supply chain risks, ranking of U.S. food hub supply chain risks, etc. The individual and group activities will allow participants to reflect on their own operations and identify risk mitigation strategies. The target audience of the session is practitioners including but not limited to food hub managers and staff, as well as policymakers and other key stakeholders supporting the development of local and regional food system initiatives.
Speakers: Tatevik Avetisyan, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, Dr. Brent Ross, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Dept. of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University

Brand-inspired Marketing for Food Hubs: Tools for Change

Wednesday March 11th, 4-5:30pm
Drawing on expertise in brand marketing and on participants’ own experience in food hubs around the US, this workshop will share tools, strategies and inspiration to help build strong brand marketing strategies, for individual organizations and for our movement. We’ll explore brand as change agent, including Challenger Brand thinking. Through small and large group discussion and creative exercises we will dig into what deep brand building looks like for food hubs today: communication channels, formats, messages and calls to action, and how storytelling, images, music and other art forms can move people to action. We’ll bring all of this together in a discussion of how culture informs brand, led by community-based artists/advocates from the Delta region who will discuss ways culture is expressed and strengthened in their communities, and how incorporating diverse perspectives can help shift and strengthen all of our marketing for change.
Speakers: Susan Futrell, Director of Marketing, Red Tomato, additional speakers TBD

Finding Alignment: Buyer Awareness of Farm Produce Safety Programs and Collaborative Solutions

Thursday March 12th, 10:30-12
How do institutional food service professionals know produce from their suppliers is safe? The Michigan Farm to Institution Network sought to answer this by surveying buyers about accepted programs, familiarity with program requirements for growers, accountability for safe produce and confidence in produce safety. The answers have deep impacts on the local food supply chain as growers are faced with requests to obtain multiple certifications, each with their own set of requirements and fees, on top of needing to comply with the mandatory requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. This session will present the survey findings and engage the audience in solutions to further educate buyers and alleviate unnecessary burdens to growers. This is especially important for food hubs that support produce safety education or certification for their suppliers. Panelists from ValleyHUB will present a case study on working with both customers and suppliers to align produce safety expectations.
Speakers: Mariel Borgman, Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Garrett Ziegler, Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Randall Davis, Food Hub Manager, ValleyHUB, Rosie Florian, Outreach & Marketing Coordinator, ValleyHUB

Achieving Greater Efficiencies through Food Hub Networking

Thursday March 12th, 2-3:30
As the food hub industry has evolved, food hubs have observed the need to gain efficiencies in inventory, logistics and season extension. As these businesses have evolved, many hubs are working to achieve the efficiency of economies of scale without compromising on the integrity of the vendors they support and the communities they serve. During this session, we’ll provide insight into how three practitioners are solving for the aforementioned efficiencies through food hub networking. The session will be kicked off by food hub veteran Evan Smith, providing context for how we’ve arrived at the point of food hubs working strategically together, and three practitioners will provide their approach and perspective on achieving “economies of collaboration.”
Speakers: Cullen Nuamoff, Co-founder, Farm Fare, Tom McDougall, Founder/CEO, 4P Foods, Evan Smith, Managing Partner, Alden Services, Erica Christensen, Growth & Operations Manager, Corbin Hill Food Project, Amy McCann, CEO, Local Food Marketplace

Growing Rural Food Hubs: Collaboration for Scaling-Up Value-Based Supply Chains

Friday March 13th, 10-11:30
In the rural Northwest, food hubs and local food businesses have developed under unique circumstances, each with its own mix of needs and resources, and, each is having a different community impact. This workshop will explore strategies used to initiate and scale-up food hubs with diverse business models in rural Washington and Montana. In addition to successes, we’ll unpack some of the challenges that occur as business footprints expand and explore the leadership and collaboration necessary to overcome these challenges. We’ll explore the role of shared values and transparency in different stages of development and coordination and collaboration between food hubs, independent producers and buyers. Activities and discussions will engage participants in sharing their own experiences and challenges and identifying possible next steps. Participants will leave the workshop with and understanding of collaborations needed to develop and scale up rural food hubs and other local food businesses.
Speakers: Jan Tusick, Center Director, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, Joel Williamson, Co-founder, LINC Foods, Dave Prather, General Manager, Western Montana Growers Coop