Food Hubs and Values-Based Supply Chains

Food Hub and VBSC Resources

Wholesale channels that provide additional marketing options for small- to mid-sized, values-based producers, increase consumer access to their products, and participate in 'farm to fork' efforts are increasingly referred to as values-based supply chains (VBSCs).  Businesses within VBSCs that aggregate product from these kinds of producers are often referred to as food hubs. 

Beyond Fresh & Direct

Guides for Producers and Extension Educators

Consumers’ interest in knowing where their food comes from has contributed significantly to the recent growth of the specialty foods market.  The Beyond Fresh & Direct project team received a grant from USDA to identify ingredient sourcing opportunities in the specialty food business.

Value-Based Supply Chains and Food Hubs

California consumers are increasingly aware that food products are connected to their social, environmental and community values.  In addition to taste and freshness, consumers are interested in food that is local, produced using environmentally sustainable practices, fairly traded and more.

SAREP strives to build markets for farmers and better inform consumers of the values farmers put into their work. We also work to build the academic community’s understanding of these market practices to improve our institutional ability to respond to the needs of the agricultural community.

How to Sell Produce Wholesale

Right now many people in California want to know more about where their produce comes from. They want to buy product that is local, organic, grown on a small farm, or by a family. Consumers want to know your story.

The produce distribution industry is mobilizing to meet this demand and needs appropriately prepared farmers. Distributors and retailers are looking for ways to sell to these customers. If you want to move product through these markets, you have to help them tell the story and make it easy for them to do business with you.

Urban Agriculture

With a growing interest in gardening, food preservation and livestock, urban agriculture is making its way to the forefront of planning and policy agendas.  More urban agriculture programs are starting up in cities around California, and urban agriculture regulations are a topic policy makers and communities are grappling with. Urban agriculture has the potential to improve access to food, build economic opportunitie

Strategies for Farmers Markets and Small Farm Marketing: Case Studies Overview

Project Overview

The number of farmers markets nationwide has increased more than ten-fold over the last few decades. Today there are more than 3,000 farmersmarkets bringing fresh, seasonal, high quality foods directly from local farms to enthusiastic customers in large and small communities throughout the U.S. Although farmersmarkets are known for connecting consumers directly with farmers, there has been little recognition of the way these markets help develop farm businesses and the economies of the host communities.

Selling Directly to Consumers and Retailers

Farmers markets, community supported agriculture services, and on-farm sales like u-pick and farm stands are important ways for growers to establish a steady customer base participate in a region’s food system.

Navigating the logistics of these marketing venues can be challenging, and properly planning for direct sales is essential to making these markets profitable.

Our resources can help farmers be better prepared for direct sales, and can help local agriculture advocates support the growth of local markets. 




Regional Marketing Studies

Our Agriculture marketing studies examines how specific counties or regions are responding to global economic and social trends by developing strategies that support more local or regional food systems.

Convening Farmer Educator Networks

UC SAREP Plays a Role in Convening Organizations Involved in Educating, Training and Supporting California Farmers.

Many organizations in California—non-profits, financial institutions, government agencies, UCCE—support small, beginning and limited resource farmers to develop their skills in production, marketing, land access, and business management. Other organizations offer training programs to aspiring farmers.

Farm to Hospital Evaluations and Case Studies

Farm to Hospital or other institutional initiatives advance hospitals’ mission to promote and protect health, especially in light of widespread nutrition-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The success of these programs requires successful collaborations and sometimes restructuring of existing contracts.  Local food purchasing at hospitals can be difficult to incorporate into hospital food supply chains, which are ties to many other food processing, distribution, and procurement systems.