Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Hubs

I am really fascinated by the idea of food hubs.  There a couple of different ideas about what that means - for the USDA, it means small farmers banding together to create on brand to be more attractive to larger scale buyers.  On this island, that might mean several small farms with sheep working together to be able to provide a steady supply of lamb to the resorts on the Leeward side or restaurants all over the island. 

Another definition is a central place to either garden or distribute food to the community.  I suppose you could consider a Farmer's Market (of which this island is lucky to have so many) a food hub, but I was thinking more about a program I saw advertised at church where farmer's/gardener's donate extra produce which is distributed to low-income seniors one day a week.  A similar idea is the arrangement someone on a sustainability group (internet based) I belong to made with the Hilo Food Bank.  They've agreed to accept produce dontations from gardener's/farmer's on Thursdays for distribution on Fridays to needy families.  The group has been asked to "grow an extra row" for the community. 

I would sure like to get that even more organized.  There is a church near where I live which hosts a charter school during the week, and there is a community center nearby.  The land is pretty rocky, not much soil, but there is some, and there is always the possibility of ripping the lava, and building raised beds on top of it.  I bet that charter school would really like to have a gardening program which could work with the senior center....  and there is another charter school up the road where my friend is the principal....this could be a good idea whose time has come. 

I am not the person to organize it - I am just getting my feet under me as a gardener myself, but I find the idea of the community coming together to make sure the vulnerable have food really attractive.  At least I can start talking about it and asking people who know more than I do for help. 

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