Food Hubs

Food Hubs: Supporting Maine’s Local Food and Fishing Economy


Maine currently imports 90% of the food we consume, with the ingredients for an average meal in Maine traveling 1,900 miles from farm to fork. (Maine’s Food System: An Overview and Assessment, Maine Policy Review, Winter 2011.)  

Maine ranks 3rd in the nation (1st in New England) for very low food security (hunger).  But, unlike most other states, in Maine the average age of farmers is decreasing as more and more young farmers are drawn to working smaller farms throughout the state.  

Maine is well-positioned to be a leader in building a strong, resilient and sustainable food system, but we are still in need of considerable infrastructure development.  Specifically, food hub development, which is essential in providing the structural support needed to sustain our many local farms and fisheries and provide them with a point of entry into larger local markets (schools, prisons, government facilities, buying clubs etc.).  


What is a food hub?  

The USDA’s working definition of a food hub is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.  By actively coordinating these activities along the value chain, food hubs are providing wider access to institutional and retail markets for small to mid-sized producers, and increasing access of fresh healthy food for consumers, including underserved areas and food deserts.”


Maine’s small, sustainable farms can feed more of our state if we develop food hubs

Individually, Maine’s small farmers cannot always produce crops at a large enough scale to serve institutions like schools, but it could become possible if they coordinate through food hubs.

Existing food hubs are already doing this with success, including the Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan, Crown of Maine Organic Co-Op in Vassalboro, and Northern Girl of Caribou.

A food hub helps to overcome the logistical difficulties of many small suppliers to a larger institutional food service market.  

More information:

Maine Hunger Initiative