The new regional food hub at the 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living in Woodinville aggregated local sustainable farm product and made its first deliveries to two area hospitals recently.
This new hub, assisted by Northwest Agriculture Business Center, delivered farm product to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle and to United General Hospital in Sedro Woolley.
According to Lucy Norris, Northwest Agricultural Business Center: “This was a seminal week for the 21 Acres Food Hub. Being able to drive a truck full of local, sustainable farm product and make deliveries to these large hospitals was very exciting.
“By using the food hub resources we’re able to allow farmers to spend more time farming and less time traveling.
“This also means there are fewer vehicles on the road overall which helps reduce carbon emissions.”
The first deliveries by the 21 Acres Food Hub included: frozen blueberries from Bow Hill Blueberries; leafy greens and slicing tomatoes from Maltby Produce in Snohomish; eggs from Growing Things Farm in Carnation and peppers, cabbage and carrots from La Conner Flats Farm.
Local food systems research across the country, and here in the Puget Sound region, shows that one of the biggest hurdles to building regional food systems are the logistics to selling and buying local farm product in large volumes, conducting efficient purchase and sale transactions, and aggregating and delivering product. Northwest Agriculture Business Center and 21 Acres are addressing these challenges and removing barriers on both the supply and demand side.
These cooperative efforts will help to ultimately increase the sustainability of local farms.
The 21 Acres Food Hub will be unique in that the product will be sourced from farmers using beyond organic standards and who use production practices with ultimate sustainability in mind.
These parameters are evolving and the organization is working with farmers to determine: eligibility requirements for production standards; goals and intentions of the hub; negligible fees if any at all (21 Acres and NABC are covering almost all expenses); how to use the Local Orbit online management/payment system; days and times of operations and delivery locations.
21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is a comprehensive campus with a farm, school, commercial kitchen, market and green-built facility at 13701 NE 171st Street, Woodinville.
For more information, visit, www.21acres.org.