This is a good article, but I wonder why the writers of these feel the need to use that condescending tone towards farmers markets to talk about intermediate sales for growers?
I do feel like this is market organizers issue as well; that we need to embrace the need for the food system to grow past our boundaries and to understand what our markets offer and what they do not: Markets bring family table shoppers and producers interested in direct sales together; that action allows a great deal to begin and to grow and the work to properly manage those efforts is harder than organizers get credit for. That the many benefits of markets should be understood and shared with fellow food system organizers to better replicate and expand models into new arenas. That markets need to work with food hubs, micro-farms and Farm To Institution initiatives to allow some of our growers to supply those chains, and to safeguard the values of health and wealth equity and to keep inviting new people into the system.
There’s no template for food hubs, and every one is different. Some focus on working with retailers, gathering food from local farms, branding it and then selling it to grocers. Others partner with growers. The Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association in California’s Salinas Valley, for instance, began by consolidating produce from growers and coordinating distribution to stores in 2001, later adding farmer services like education and crop planning. By 2011 it had sales in excess of $3 million. Others still are expanding into light processing. Last summer, Eastern Market began buying excess produce from farmers at the end of market day during peak season and freezing it for resale over the winter.