2017 Food Hub Project: Review of Pilots

Local Roots Pilot:

Producers in the four-county region of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego have had limited success marketing produce in NYC. Producers cited transportation costs, quality standards and difficulty establishing a consistent market as factors. Although many Producers state they have tried to access the large and potentially profitable urban market of NYC, this independent and fractured approach had resulted in limited success.

This project proposed to facilitate access to a NYC market, trial the ability of Local Growers to produce volume and minimal standards for this market, and assess the feasibility of developing additional market outlets in NYC.

Hydroponic Pilot:

Producers in our four counties have had very limited success selling their products into local wholesale markets where there is resistance to paying a premium for local products. This particular product of high quality had significant potential to lead marketing efforts in wholesale and premium markets.

Primary goals included determining the Local Producer’s ability/readiness to transition into wholesale markets with a high quality product, determining the markets ability to establish a premium for local products, and developing a product line that provided year-round local sales.

Wholesale Pilot:

Except in focused, limited areas in Oswego County, there are few medium to large Growers/Producers competing in the local wholesale market. Local distributors have expressed interest in local procurement, but reasonable quantities at a standard of acceptable quality, has not been available.

This project tested if Local Growers/Producers could grow adequate volume and quality in North Country climate and growing conditions to compete in the local wholesale market. In addition, this project tested local distributor interest in buying local products if reasonable volume and quality would become available. Testing these theories was key to understanding the potential success of a wholesale model prior to investing significant public dollars in the infrastructure and processes needed.

Before substantial funds were committed, Pilot Projects were conducted to test specific components of a future sustainable Food Hub Business Model from which “Lessons Learned” were gathered and “Ongoing Challenges” identified.

Last updated February 28, 2018