Large and Small Scale Aggregation of Local Produce

Aggregation of local produce could encourage more local production, facilitate programs for large consumers such as farm to school, and help the market respond to demand for local produce. This group will study the possibilities for new ideas for food distribution where there may be unclaimed niches in our local economy, such as local vegetable farmer cooperatives, various direct programs, such as farm to school or work programs, and even large scale local food hub concepts. The group will look into the concept of health departments helping neighborhoods with poor access to healthy foods to form buyers’ cooperatives with direct links to local producers. Southern SAWG and several efforts in Austin may be key resources.

A report should be developed on best practices and opportunities and then this group will work to educate producers, elected officials, and investors on these possibilities. This group also will attempt to collect information on supply and demand in the region, possibly through working with the Extension service and the USDA Agricultural Census, as well as assessing the outcomes of the Healthy Living Matters Food Assessment.

This group will explore policies to leverage existing distribution outlets, such as Airline Market, Sysco, and Produce Row, to create greater access to the local food market.  Also, there is an opportunity to develop policies for government purchasing preferences that support local farmers. Refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment report for best practices and ideas.

Champions: Scott Howard and Ashley Hernandez