Cultivating connections for local foods.
The Two Rivers Food Hub is a connection point for buyers and sellers of local foods. Our mandate is to support the small and medium sized farm community around the two rivers that run through Lanark, Leeds and Grenville counties. The project began as a grass-roots effort, and is now incorporated as a not-for-profit company that is designed to be self –sustaining within three to five years. Start-up funding was raised with successful grants and donations from a diverse group of interested supporters including Trillium, OMAFRA and the EODP, several municipalities, as well as other groups and individuals. Our board of directors includes members of environmental groups, buyers and producers of local foods, the leader of a health organization, a financial services expert and an elected official. The food hub is well positioned to service the tri-county area from our physical location in the Gallipeau Centre on County Road 43 in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
The Two Rivers Food Hub is seeking to accomplish our mandate through the following initiatives:
- By providing access to Commercial Kitchen Rentals so that products that local producers currently make at home can be made more quickly and efficiently; and, as we are a licensed and inspected facility, to provide the possibility of placement into more formal retail environments.
- By piloting a Wholesale Aggregation and Distribution service in partnership with Wendy’s Mobile Market to expand opportunity for more producers as well as to recruit and provide service to more restaurant, grocery and institutional local foods buyers.
- By piloting a Weekly Local Food Basket in the summer and a Monthly Local Food Basket in the winter, using area small scale sustainable farmers including both
- experienced and emerging farmers .
- By purchasing Processing and Storage equipment, such as a portable vegetable brush line and large scale agricultural coolers and freezers to rent to local farmers who may not have the means to build or buy these things for themselves.
- And by offering Information and Support services by working with community partners like OMAFRA, the Health Unit, CFIA, Valley Heartland, the NFU, the OFA, other area food hubs and more… This includes regular workshops, tours and ‘summits’ and participating in events like the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference.
Although the principle of a local food hub is not new, there has been a rise in this type of hub in recent years throughout North America and we are in communication with many other similar and related projects both in our area and far away. Generally, this breed of food hub seeks to improve small farm sustainability, to reduce food miles, to provide food security and to seek value-chain instead of simple supply-chain based solutions to the challenges of increasing access to local foods. And although no two seem to be exactly the same, just as no two rivers follow the same path, the spirit of collaborating to support local farmers seems to be the common goal. That goal is one that we are also proud to embrace. Thank you for your support in this effort.