Douglas County has been awarded grants totaling more than $68,000 for a regional food hub feasibility study.
The year-long study will determine whether 16 counties in the northeast corner of Kansas could benefit by creating a warehouse for locally-grown foods.
Lawrence/Douglas County Sustainability Coordinator Eileen Horn says one goal is to help meet the demand from institutional kitchens for fresh, local food.
“We have producers who can grow great fruits and vegetables, and meats, and value-added products that they produce," she says. "And we have a demand for local food, but we are missing that middle-man food warehouse that can help us reach some economies of scale, and help our small and medium-sized food producers scale up.”
The feasibility study will look at whether the supply and demand are enough for a food hub to make economic sense. If so, where should it be located, and what would be the best operating model? Horn says developing a local food economy is not only good for those who like to eat, it’s good for the local economy, too.