Looking at a Regional Local Food Distribution Hub
September 11, 2012
Simcoe County, Ontario: The Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture (SCFA), along with several partners, is undertaking a study, to determine the feasibility of establishing a Local Food Distribution Hub to serve Simcoe County and the surrounding region, including the District of Muskoka, and Region of York.
The study will look at the supply, demand, location, business structure, and how the on-going operation of a food hub could occur. The results will provide various models and options for creating a full service local food distribution system, with capacity for cold and frozen food storage, and will provide insight into how the system could be utilized by small and large scale farmers/producers on a regional basis. All commodity groups, including livestock and poultry, field crops, dairy and horticulture will be considered. The food distribution system would be accessible to a wide range of buyers.
Agriculture is important to Simcoe County and the surrounding region. Located in Central Ontario, there is a wide range of agricultural products grown and produced. Bruce Mosley, SCFA President, has stated, "The development of a local food distribution system has been consistently identified as an opportunity to increase market opportunity for farmers and local food production, to meet the demands of both the large and smaller food buyers." The results of this study have the potential to identify pilot projects and sites. As well, the research methodology and results can be used as a template both provincially and nationally. Potential economic impact and job creation opportunities will also be considered.
The feasibility study is set to begin this fall, with completion by September, 2013.
This study coincides with other initiatives that are currently underway, including the development of a Food and Agriculture Charter for Simcoe County.
The SCFA, which represents approximately 1600 farmers and farm-related businesses within Simcoe County, was established in 1940. The Federation develops and consolidates farmers' positions for the protection and promotion of activities within the County, which will improve the welfare of the individual farmer and the agricultural industry.
Investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
Contact: Connie Brown, Secretary, SCFA (705) 726-9300 Ext. 1224