How do we grow a local frontier food economy and ensure access to enough healthy food in remote locations?
Born out of innovative research, on the ground experience and informed by stakeholders at all levels in our food system, the Southwest New Mexico Food Hub is a dual-purpose food hub designed to increase the local food economy and to improve food access and reduce food insecurity for residents in southwest New Mexico.
Local food and agriculture have immense potential to infuse frontier communities with much needed income, healthy food and to serve as a community nexus. Unfortunately several factors have impacted small, family producers from reaching larger markets including increased fuel costs, distance to large markets, increased food safety regulations, cheap food from mega-farms and changes in consumer choices.
Additionally, over 77% of frontier food pantry recipients we interviewed for our small area study relied on the emergency and supplemental food system on a monthly basis to meet their nutritional needs, signaling a shift from “emergency” food to “essential” food. Much of the food our study measured in frontier food pantries was inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of individuals or families and was often unhealthy. Our food hub helps local food producers reach their food business goals by providing marketing, coordination, aggregation and distribution services. By utilizing our hub, food producers can spend more time producing food and less time marketing and distributing their product. While the cost of running a food hub anywhere is high, we have stacked functions and operate under a shared services model to reduce overhead and increase efficiency.
By folding in food pantry needs into the distribution and warehouse services of the food hub, we can utilize excess food, tap into our logistical network to purchase bulk food items and distribute healthy foods to food pantries for a reduced cost.
The Southwest New Mexico Food Hub has been on a track to self-sufficiency since April 2018. With our success in this region of the frontier, we hope to replicate this model for other communities and to re-define what a frontier food system is.
For SWNM Food Hub available products and pricing, or to become a supplier or buyer please contact Ben Rasmussen at (575) 597-0032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep up with all National Center for Frontier Communities is doing around the country. Sign-up for our newsletter today!