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Regional food hubs support local farmers by providing distribution for their products, such as organic crops. They also play a critical role in transitioning conventional growers towards organic agriculture by providing access to a growing base of organic consumers.

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Regional Food Hub

Regional Food Hub

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

Regional Food Hub

Location: Hummingbird Wholesalers, Republic of Eugene, OR

Featuring: Julie Tilt

A regional food hub is centrally located for the use of aggregation, storage, processing, marketing, and distribution of regionally produced food products. Hummingbird’s customers don’t want their food “From China,” so the company focuses on creating food security for the local community. Hummingbird distributes 225 different products from San Francisco to Seattle, with 85% of its customers are from Oregon. They work with 16 regional farmers and carry organic locally grown wheat, teff and flour, transitional garbanzo and lentils, local honeys, local organic filberts, dried cranberries, organic blueberries and prunes, organic cornmeal, organic wild rice, organic black beans and flax seed — and this is only a partial list.

As a micro distributor, Hummingbird supports local farmers by providing distribution of their products and also plays a role in transitioning conventional growers towards organic agriculture by providing access to a growing base of organic consumers. As a micro processor, Hummingbird processes foods that are made from locally sourced ingredients, so as to eliminate the need for a lengthy supply chain and, instead, centralizes the regions’ food needs.

Pie = Community

Pie = Community

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

Pie = Community

Location: Greensboro, Alabama
Featuring: Pie Lab

Pie is easy to linger over, and conversations happen when people linger. Pie, therefore, begets community. It promotes ideas to form through conversation. When conversation meets design, social change occurs.

Pie Lab was founded in 2008 as a pop-up café, design studio, and civic clubhouse with a single purpose: to bring life back onto Greensboro, Alabama’s main street by serving pie. It is a partnership between “Hale Empowerment & Revitalization Organization” (HERO) and a design collective known as Project M.

I’m a big fan of James Howard Kunstler’s “Geography of Nowhere,” so I ask Miss Deborah how Pie Lab can help bring life back to the main streets of our small towns and she says, “The other day I met an older man at Pie Lab who had grown up here in Greensboro and moved away when he graduated high school. He told me stories of how alive Main Street was when he was growing up, all about the movie theatre, the stores and the pool hall he and his buddies would hang out in. His description was one of an exciting place to be. Then he looked around Pie Lab, at the new businesses on the street,  and said, ‘Its finally coming back to life.'”

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