FoodHub returns to the White House
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Officials at FoodHub, a website that connects growers and buyers, is making a third trip to the White House to tell the story about how the site connects rural and urban economies.
The director of Ecotrust's FoodHub project returns to the White House this week, this time to emphasize the role that the website plays in connecting rural farmers with urban pocketbooks.
Amanda Oborne, who took over FoodHub when founder Deborah Kane was hired to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School initiative, will make her second trip to Washington, D.C., to speak at the Forum on Regional Innovation in Rural America Wednesday.
The USDA has been a strong supporter of FoodHub, which launched two years ago to help connect food growers and producers with buyers.
"This is a terrific example of a public-private partnership that improves the connections between healthy food and consumers while supporting our local and regional economies, said Vicki Walker, USDA's rural development state director for Oregon.
Oborne will share stories about FoodHub's 3,600 members, which are spread across six Western states. (For an in-depth look at how FoodHub works, click here.)
On its blog, FoodHub quotes a representative from Unger Farms in Cornelius: "We are out on the farm; we’re out in the country. It’s really helpful to have technology that connects us to the cities to be able to sell."
FoodHub officials say the site's growth is tied to a national resurgence in small- and medium-acreage farming and a trend away from commodity crops. They cite a study funded by the Farm Credit Council showing that organic, farm-direct and local sales totaled $8 billion in 2007. That same study found that a small 25-acre farm growing 75 to 100 different crops for a community-supported agriculture operation could bring in $90,000 in net profit. Comparatively, a 100-acre farm growing 15 to 20 crops might see $26,000 a year in net profit.
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