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Food Hub Feasibility Surveys Now Open for Comment

Thanks to a multi-year grant from Meyer Memorial Trust, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) outreach specialist Kristy Athens is conducting a food hub feasibility survey for Wallowa County.

“We have so much food production here in the county, and most of it is exported instead of consumed,” says Kristy. “I want to explore options that could increase access to locally grown food crops, and also add value to crops, which could boost the local economy.”

A "food hub" is a business or organization that can provide any number of services to local farmers and ranchers, including cooler or freezer storage, washing/cutting/packaging, and distribution to wholesale purchasers. Aggregation can support smaller producers, who alone cannot provide the volume of food needed by most wholesale customers, such as grocery stores, schools, and restaurants. Keeping more of the food that is grown in Wallowa County in the county increases access to fresh, nutritious produce and meat, and makes our economy more resilient--meaning we're less reliant on outside supplies. You can learn more about food hubs at http://www.wallacecenter.org/foodhubcollaboration/.

Athens seeks input from two specific groups. The first group is producers—the farmers and ranchers who grow food in the county—survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCproducers
The second group is wholesale purchasers—the restaurants, grocery stores, institutions, manufacturers that purchase, process and/or sell agricultural products—survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCwholesalers

If it's appropriate, readers may take more than one survey, but they may take each only once. Please complete the survey by June 30, 2017. Share widely with your producer and buyer friends! If you have questions, contact Athens at kristyathens@neoedd.org or 541-426-3598.