Regional Food Hub
Food hubs are emerging as critical pillars for building stronger regional and local food systems. A food hub centralizes the business management structure to facilitate the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.
Small and mid-size producers often don’t have access to their own processing, aggregation, distribution, or storage facilities. They might not be able to develop relationships with critical buyers or have the resources to develop strong marketing campaigns. This sort of infrastructure is necessary to growing agricultural businesses.
The market demand for this type of facility in this region of Georgia is undeniable. In 2012, the Morgan County Board of Commissioners hired UGA to conduct a feasibility study to determine just how feasible this type of development would be.
Since then, there have a number of developments: 1) a USDA certified cannery is being built in Madison by Harvest of the Heart Garden, serving the vegetable processing needs; 2) there has been interest expressed in developing a processing facility for animals in the region; and 3) a public-private partnership between Kelly Products and the Morgan County Board of Commissioners is in the early stages of developing a Heritage Farm Market, to serve the retail and aggregation/distribution needs.
Keith Kelly says of the project, “This is no small undertaking, but our company is passionate about this venture and we believe it will be a great asset for local farmers and local and regional consumers.”
The Conservancy agrees! Stay tuned.