Vermont has exhibited an incredible expansion in the number of regional food hubs in recent years. In 2009, there were six food hubs and currently, more than twenty-four community food groups have formed with the goal of supporting local agriculture in their region. These groups are doing incredible work to advance the local food system.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food hub as a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.
Many of Vermont’s food hubs also provide farm to school program support, consumer education, and farmer education and outreach, encourage stewardship of healthy soils and clean water, and facilitate aggregation and distribution of Vermont agricultural products.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets supports these food hub efforts and encourages producers and consumers to connect with the organized community food group in their area. Here is a list of Vermont food hubs, including contact information and the regions they serve.
So You Want to Distribute? The Basics of Distribution in Vermont
Making the right distribution decisions for your business isn’t easy. The FAQ sheet linked below summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of distribution options available. When exploring distribution options, think about the stage and scale of your business and the markets you would like to access, and remember that the “place” where you want to sell is one of the 4Ps of marketing (product, price, place, promotion). The decisions you make about distribution have implications for successfully implementing your business and marketing plan. Read more in the full report.
Distribution Options Financial Decision Making Tool
This Excel workbook is a financial tool created to aid decision making around the various distribution options. The Agency of Agriculture and our partners would be happy to work with you to use this tool to figure out what distribution model is the best fit. This tool assumes the averages for various inputs associated with owning your own distribution truck, such as the cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance, and compares these to the assumed costs associated with paying for distribution services. For assistance with this decision or guidance on how to use this tool, please contact Rose Wilson or Jake Claro.