SALAMANCA - Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board announces the release of the results of a six-month feasibility study that assessed the opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for the development of a food hub to serve Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua county farm and food producers. The research and report have been undertaken by Anthony Flaccavento, an economic development consultant and farmer who pioneered one of the nation's first local food hubs in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. The public is welcome to attend the report presentation by Flaccavento on Friday from 1-2:30 p.m. at Southern Tier West's office in Salamanca located in the Center for Regional Excellence, 4039 Route 219, Suite 200. The presentation will also be available to attend online at www.GoToMeeting.com. Click the "Join a Meeting" tab and enter the meeting id number: 411-336-789. Please RSVP for in person attendance or any questions related to this project to Kimberly LaMendola at 945-5301, ext. 211 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that the appropriate room accommodations can be made.
Food hubs are enterprises or systems that increase the production, distribution, and sales of local farm products in a coordinated, deliberate and sustained manner. Food hubs can be developed and function in a variety of ways but generally are considered to be a primary vehicle by which small and limited resource farmers can gain access to mid-size and larger markets. The purpose of the Southern Tier West study was to determine the opportunities and challenges related to developing a synthesized food aggregation and distribution system within the Southern Tier and assess the various elements of the existing regional food system. Flaccavento conducted extensive research, visited the three counties of the Southern Tier, and interviewed over 100 people involved in the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food grown or produced within the three counties. Flaccavento's report and recommendations for food hub development specifically relate to the agricultural capacities and projected market demands of the region and can be used to inform future regional planning and development projects.
This project was supported with a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant awarded to Southern Tier West as part of its comprehensive ongoing work in the development of food system initiatives in the three counties. The full report will be available for download from Southern Tier West's website www.southerntierwest.org following Flaccavento's presentation. Please contact Kimberly LaMendola, Regional Development coordinator, for additional details at 945-5301, ext. 211 or email@example.com.