In order to expand consumer access to locally produced foods through retail (grocery stores and restaurants) and institutions (schools, hospitals, care centers, etc.) outlets, producers need to develop distribution systems that provide consistent high quality products in sufficient quantities where and when the buyers want them. A large single grower may be able to produce sufficient quantities of high quality product over a season to meet the needs of larger retail customers but if smaller growers are to be able to access these markets they will have to work together. There are a number of different models to accomplish this presently operating in the U.S. market including:
~ Farmer Aggregators
~ Home Delivery Networks
~ Independent Businesses
~ Non-profit Organizations
~ Value-Added Processors
Each of these distribution models has advantages and disadvantages depending on the size of the market, number of producers, and product attributes. Finding and developing workable distribution models that can succeed in Nebraska is a major goal of the Nebraska Local Foods Network. To learn more click here:
This site also has a link to a U.S. map of existing organizations that represent the different distribution models including a short discussion of what they do. (U.S. Map)
This is a document that displays how far certain types of fruits and vegetables travel before you by them in the grocery store.
Webinar's and Educational Tools
The National Good Food Network has brought you a free webinar. It will allow you to have a unique opportunity to listen to several key people at the USDA about upcoming funding opportunities. Debra Tropp, Branch Chief, Marketing Services Division, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service moderated a panel of grant managers from across USDA representing, including Community Food Projects, Value-Added Producer Grant Program, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, RD Business Program, and various RMA Programs, among others.