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Indiana State Department of Agriculture

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ISDA > Indiana Grown > Food Hubs Food Hubs


ISDA has prepared a feasibility study for food hubs in Indiana. The project was funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, and the purpose of the study was to assess the needs of growers and consumers regarding the potential for regional food hubs operating as part of a statewide network to facilitate the marketing and access to specialty crops

  • To view the entire food hub feasibility study, click here

What is a Food Hub?

The National Good Food Network (NGFN) describes a food hub as “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.” In other words, food hubs offer logistical support to make it easier for producers, or farmers, to get their products in front of consumers. As a result, the business structure of food hubs ties them to their producers and the success of their products, ensuring that food hubs work for a purpose and have larger goals in mind than profit margins. This business structure has been very successful in recent years due to the nation-wide increase in demand for “local food.” Food hubs enhance their satisfaction of this demand by tying the source of production to the product itself through all stages of food distribution and sales.

Click this link to watch a video on food hubs

What is a specialty crop?

In general, a specialty crops are  “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Eligible plants must be cultivated or managed and used by people for food, medicinal purposes, and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops. Processed products shall consist of greater than 50% of the specialty crop by weight, exclusive of added water.

Project goals

  • Identification of existing Specialty Crop production and marketing infrastructure and potential projected capacity.
  • Identify current demand for regionally grown specialty crops through various market channel (retail/wholesale) and determine whether those demands are currently being addressed and met.
  • Develop a framework for local marketing strategies.
  • Disseminate information to the local public officials regarding the significant role that agriculture plays in the economy of the state today and for the potential growth and security which can come from agricultural diversification, increasing the number of farmers, adding value to raw farm products, and in the collaboration of farmers, consumers and local government.
  • Documentation of the investigation process to serve as a template for future expansions and development in other areas across the state.
  • Develop the framework to initiate regional food hubs, either virtual or physical, in targeted locations across the state, with the potential of six to eight aggregation points.
  • Identify state and local laws, rules and ordinances relating to food hubs and food distribution in the targeted areas.

Advisory Team

Timeline overview

  • August 26, 2014 – New Albany (10:30AM-12:00PM) Purdue Technology Center – New Albany (3000 Technology Ave. New Albany, IN 47150) in the Shine Family Room (1st Floor)
  • August 27, 2014 – Batesville (10:30AM-12:00PM) Margaret Mary Health (321 Mitchell Avenue, Batesville, IN 47006) in the Auditorium
  • August 27, 2014 – Indianapolis (3:30PM-5:00PM) Purdue Extension - Marion County Office (1202 E 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205) in Discovery Hall
  • August 28, 2014 – Fort Wayne (2;30PM-4:00PM) Purdue Extension – Allen County Office (4001 Crescent Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46815)
  • September 3, 2014 – Valparaiso (10:30AM-12:00PM Central)
  • September 4, 2014 – Columbus (10:30AM-12:00PM) Purdue Cooperative Extension – Bartholomew County (1971 State Street, Columbus, IN 47201
  • September 4, 2014 – Evansville (4:30PM – 6:00PM Central) Purdue Extension Service, Vanderburgh County (13301 Darmstadt Road, Evansville, IN 47725
  • September 9, 2014 – Lafayette (10:30AM-12:00PM) LOCATION TBD
  • September 9, 2014 – Muncie (4:00PM-5:30PM) Delaware County Fairgrounds (1210 N Wheeling Ave, Muncie, IN 47303) in Heartland Hall

Steps in process

  • Data Gathering Process (May – September 2014)
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  •  Regional Input Sessions
  • Survey of Wholesalers, Large Buyers, and Consumers
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Draft report (October 31, 2014)
  • Final Study (January 31, 2015)
  • Regional Public Meetings (February 1 – April 30, 2015)


·         Successful Food Hubs

o   Study hubs 

o   Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) 

o   Cherry Capital Foods 

o   Common Market Philadelphia 

o   Farm Fresh Rhode Island 

o   Firsthand Foods 

o   Idaho’s Bounty Co-op 

o   Jack and Jake’s 

o   Local Food Hub 

“This material is based upon work supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture under Award Number 12-25-B-1669.”


Disclaimer: “This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government and the State of Indiana. Neither the United States Government or State of Indiana, nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, the State of Indiana, or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, the State of Indiana or any agency thereof.”