November 28, 2017
As we look to 2018, the Unity Food Hub (UFH) will be undergoing some changes. After a period of evaluation, the Unity Food Hub Management Committee has decided to shift activities at the food hub away from food aggregation and distribution, and toward utilizing the facility in Unity to support farmers who seek offsite space for washing/packing/storage, as well as focusing on the existing commercial kitchen as a resource for value-added entrepreneurs.
There are a number of reasons why we are making this shift at this time. In the two years that UFH has been distributing local foods, much has changed in this market space — from new technology to mergers and acquisitions —and there are certainly more changes ahead. The primary reason UFH is changing focus is, after participating in the distribution market space and analyzing our results and role, we’ve determined that regionalized farmer services, as described above, is the best use of the food hub and its resources for the betterment of agriculture in Maine. This shift also enables UFH to continue to play a supporting role in ensuring that the high-quality food grown in Maine is able to reach consumers through other existing distribution channels.
At this time, after honoring all crop planning agreements with farmers for the year, we will be winding down our wholesale operations and plan to make our last Harvest Share program deliveries during the week of December 18-22, 2017. For information about other wholesale distribution options, please see here, and for single and multi-farmshare programs, please see here.
We greatly look forward to launching our new programming in 2018. We will also be releasing a case study that documents the important lessons we have learned as a food hub engaging in aggregation and distribution activities.
We would like to thank the farmers we’ve worked with during this time for the hard work they do each day to grow our food, and in working for the betterment of Maine’s food system, and the customers who have made a commitment to purchasing Maine-grown foods. We look forward to continuing to support tangible benefits for Maine’s farmers, food businesses, and consumers with the adjustments to our food hub model as described here.
The Unity Food Hub Management Committee *
* An appointed committee of business advisors overseeing UFH