Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium
The mission of the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium is to foster the
development of sustainable agricultural systems and local/regional food hubs to improve rural economies and communities.
Although agriculture is the state’s largest economic sector, it can become an even larger economic engine creating more jobs and revitalizing rural communities. Today, the majority of Georgia’s agricultural production is concentrated on large-scale production with vegetables and meats going into wholesale markets throughout the nation and the world. There is a growing, but much smaller-scale production model where produce and meats are directly sold to the consumer.
What is missing in our current system are mid-scale farms and the infrastructure for these farms to access wholesale and institutional markets that want local, sustainably produced foods. Local/regional food hubs are a way to provide this missing link. Because food hubs aggregate, distribute and sometimes process local and regional foods, they have potential to improve rural economies and quality of life through job generation and increased viability of mid-scale farms.
James Barham, an agricultural economist from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service spoke at the Food Hubs for the Future: Growing Georgia's Mid-Size Farms Conference hosted by the Consortium. The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide is a great document with information on food hub impacts on regional food systems, and the resources available to support their growth and development. The document is found here.
Goals for the consortium over the next five years are to:
- Form a working network structure that will facilitate interaction between key institutions and stakeholders,
- Quantify barriers and infrastructure needed for local/regional food hub development,
- Conduct life cycle analysis of vegetable and grazing systems,
- Begin research on multi-species grazing systems,
- Increase research and extension on small to mid-scale vegetable production systems, and
- Create two local/regional food hubs in Georgia.
Successful creation and implementation of food hubs must be a cross-sector effort. Leadership roles must be available for members of academia and both public and private sectors. The agricultural colleges at Georgia’s land grant institutions—the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University—and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are leading the effort to form the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium.
This consortium will bring land-grant universities together with other interested academic
institutions and key governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to pursue science-based information to aid the development of food hubs in Georgia.
The Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium was formed by University of Georgia College and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Other key partners are in this effort are: Georgia Organics, Georgia Farm Bureau, Community Health Works, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and Georgia USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. A united effort will foster the progress of interdisciplinary research, extension, and learning needed to support this new layer in our food system.
The Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium has published a white paper, titled Sustainable Food Systems for Georgia's Agrarian Future. This paper details the research behind the creation as well as specific goals for this Consortium.
Georgia Farmers Interested in Selling to Food Hubs
(Please click here or the map above for full interaction and size)
This map compliments the report, "Is There Farmer Interest in Food Hubs in Georgia?: A Needs Assessment Survey," published by Julia Gaskin, Kate Munden-Dixon and Carrie Furman in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and Marc Beechuk in the College of Environment & Design.
These points correlate to farmers who are interested in selling through Food Hubs, broken out by production type. Note: These points do not correlate to actual addresses, only to counties.
Farmers interested in becoming a part of this map or Food Hub operations looking to aggregate farmers may contact Kate Munden-Dixon for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that contact information is not available for every point.
By taking this one-question survey you will help us know who we are reaching and are interested in this topic. Thanks for taking the time!
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If you would like to get involved or more information please contact Julia Gaskin, University of Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator at email@example.com or Kate Munden-Dixon, University of Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Program Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Potential grants for food hub development (PDF)
- Is There Farmer Interest in Food Hubs in Georgia? A Needs Assessment Survey
- Food Hubs in Georgia: A Baseline Survey 2012
- Food Processing Cooperative to Support Locally Grown Product into Schools - A proof of concept study that examines the feasibility of a cooperative food processing facility in Macon, Georgia
- Building Successful Food Hubs
- Field Guide to the New American Foodshed - an organization that has free business plans, financial plans and risk management plans for beginning food hubs. They also have a listing of successful food hubs and what makes them successful.
- Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains
- Wholesale Success - Manual for how to develop and operate a food hub to supply wholesale buyers
- Sample Feasibility Study to Develop a Food Hub