Yellowstone Valley Food Hub
The Yellowstone Valley Food Hub, a project of the Yellowstone Valley Citizens’ Council, aims to revitalize our regional agricultural system, which once met 70% of Montana’s food needs. The Food Hub strives to raise awareness about the nutritional, environmental, and economic benefits of local foods and to link local producers to local consumers and institutions interested in reaping the rewards of regional agriculture.
What is a Food Hub?
A food hub is a non-profit entity that actively manages the collection, processing, marketing, and distribution of food products from area producers in order to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.
A food hub helps to:
- Expand markets for regional producers;
- Keep our food dollars in state;
- Create jobs in our communities;
- Increase the amount of fresh, local food available in stores, restaurants, and institutions.
Food Hub Feasibility Study
In 2016, Northern Plains and YVCC jointly sponsored a feasibility study to determine whether a Billings food hub would be viable.
- Widespread interest was identified among restaurateurs and distributors in the Billings area who are interested in easier access to local meats and produce.
- Dozens of producers in a five-county region were contacted and interviewed, most of whom agreed that a central facility in Billings would greatly facilitate market access for their products.
- Potential rental spaces in Billings were identified and numerous organizations and agencies were consulted to initiate partnerships.
Currently, the YVCC Community Food Campaign and Northern Plains are raising money to complete a formal business plan for the hub.
The Community Food Campaign, a coalition of volunteers committed to expanding local food access in the Yellowstone Valley, meets monthly on the second Mondays at 5:15pm in the Northern Plains building at 220 S. 27th Street.
We would love to hear your ideas and insights. Cori Hart, Chair of the YVCC Community Food Campaign, can field your questions and input. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 210-6268.