A recurring challenge faced by farmers is the lack of distribution infrastructure and services to allow them to take greater advantage of the growing demand for locally and regionally grown food. Regional food hubs have emerged as one effective way to overcome these infrastructural and market barriers. By offering a combination of production, aggregation, distribution, and marketing services, food hubs make it possible for producers to gain entry into new and additional markets that would be difficult or impossible to access on their own. This guide gives readers a greater understanding of what regional food hubs are, their impacts, strategies to assist their success and growth, and direction on where to find financial resources to support them. The target audiences for this guide are food entrepreneurs and their supporters who are interested in starting food hubs, and operators of food hubs who are interested in expanding. This guide will also help philanthropic foundations, public agencies, lending institutions, and economic development organizations understand the nature, function, and operating models of food hubs, helping them to engage hubs in their areas. A variety of funding options is available from both Federal and non-Federal sources to finance different stages of food hub development, from business planning and technical assistance to working capital and physical infrastructure improvements. This guide will help food hub operators and supporters better understand and navigate through the variety of financial and human resources available to them.


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