State Examining Value of 'Food Hubs'Posted: Updated:
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will use a federal grant to study the use of food hubs for specialty crops. The research will involve surveys of growers and consumers. August 27, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is exploring a new way of distributing specialty crops in a continued effort to identify effective means of meeting increasing consumer demand. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. For an overview and list of specialty crops, see http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgpdefinitions.
Consumers who shop regularly for specialty crops are invited to participate in the study by taking a short online survey to lend more insight into the potential value of 'food hubs' in Indiana (see link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/IndianaFoodHubSurvey).
Food hubs, gaining popularity as consumer demand and production of specialty crops increases, are local organizations that streamline the process of getting these products from farm to table. While specialty crops are primarily distributed through grocery stores, farmers markets, wholesalers, co-ops or community supported agriculture programs (CSAs), the ISDA's current Feasibility Study for Food Hubs in Indiana aims to assess the needs of growers and consumers to determine if a statewide network of regional food hubs will be effective.
"This study will further enhance Indiana's reputation as being an agricultural leader across the nation, as well as increase the awareness of locally-based specialty crops to Hoosier consumers," said ISDA Director Ted McKinney.
Knowledge of food hubs is not required for consumer participation in the ongoing survey, which focuses on the types of specialty crops that consumers are buying and their likelihood of purchasing from a variety of sources.
For more information and to access the survey, please visit http://in.gov/isda/3109.htm.
This project is supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through grant 12-25-B-1669. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was established as a separate state agency by the Legislature in 2005. The Director is appointed by the Governor and is a member of the Governor's Cabinet. Administratively, ISDA reports to Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who also serves as Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.
Source: The Indiana State Department of Agriculture