Central Indiana food hub would benefit farmers, consumers

May 29, 2012

 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension will hold meetings in three counties in June to determine whether a food hub should be established in central Indiana.

The meetings will be held on the following dates and at these locations (all times 6 p.m.):

* Tuesday, June 5, Hamilton County Purdue Extension office, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville.

* Wednesday, June 6, Hancock County Purdue Extension office, 802 N. Apple St., Greenfield.

* Thursday, June 7, Henry County Purdue Extension office, 1201 Race St., New Castle.

The meetings are free and open to all farmers, growers and anyone else interested in learning about food hubs and discussing the feasibility of a food hub in central Indiana.

Food hubs match products from local farmers and growers with local consumers. They often serve a variety of functions, such as providing word-of-mouth publicity for small farmers and coordinating supply logistics with commercial consumers, and increase consumer access to fresh, homegrown products.

A food hub would benefit both farmers and consumers, said Roy Ballard, Extension educator for Hancock County. He said farmers would increase their visibility and marketing and that consumers would be able to buy regionally grown products, with the potential for the hub to develop into a communitywide food resource.

"With the infrastructure possible in a more advanced hub, consumers could benefit from access to frozen, canned and otherwise preserved and stored regional products year-round," Ballard said. "Possibilities would include a retail facility, direct-to-door delivery and even drop-off of prepared, customized products at community pickup points. Each of these would build on the option of consumers shopping in more traditional farmers markets, roadside stands and farm markets."

For more information or to register, participants can contact their county Extension educators, or Ballard at 317-462-1113 or by email at rballard@purdue.edu. Farmers and growers who are unable to attend the meetings but wish to give their opinions can contact Ballard or complete a written survey at http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/hancock/
     

Writer: Jessica Merzdorf, 765-494-8402, jmerzdor@purdue.edu

Source: Roy Ballard, 317-462-1113, rballard@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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