Achieving Today. Sustaining for the Future.
Search is loading...
The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Worcester Regional Food Hub


For more information about the commercial kitchen, please contact Stuart Loosemore at
(508) 753-2924 ext. 222 or
sloosemore@worcesterchamber.org

For more information about the aggregation and distribution program or for general Food Hub questions, please contact Brain Monteverd at (508) 799-9139 ext. 150 or brian@recworcester.org

Worcester Regional Food Hub$1,084,960
 
Worcester Regional Food Hub - Implementation, Year 1 (2017)$500,075
Worcester Regional Food Hub - Pilot (2016)$423,235
Worcester Regional Food Hub - Planning (2015)$161,650
 
Year:2017Amount: $500,075
Title:Worcester Regional Food Hub - Implementation, Year 1
Recipient:Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
The Worcester Regional Food Hub is designed to improve the regional food system by strengthening sustainable agriculture, promoting healthy eating, and fueling economic development.

The Food Hub Pilot consisted of three main program areas: a commercial kitchen incubator program; aggregation, marketing and distribution services for local farms and producers; and a workforce development culinary training program. In 2017, the Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce will concentrate on expanding the activities of the culinary kitchen and aggregation efforts. They will support the transitioning of the culinary training program to the Working Cities Worcester Initiative led by the Worcester Community Action Council.

The incubator kitchen is up and running and was used by nine tenants in 2016, with several new tenants in the pipeline for 2017. The Worcester Public Schools have been one of the best customers for the Food Hub as they continue their efforts to purchase more local produce. In 2017, the Food Hub plans to expand the number of farmers that provide product for larger institutional buyers, as well as to increase the number of institutional buyers that purchase local produce.

Co-Project Director: Mr. Steven D. Fischer, Regional Environmental Council 
Co-Project Director: Mr. Timothy P. Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fiscal Agent: Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Back to top
 
Year:2016Amount: $423,235
Title:Worcester Regional Food Hub - Pilot
Recipient:Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
The Regional Environmental Council (REC) and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce (WRCC) will pilot a virtual food hub in 2016 that will encompass services in three broad areas: workforce development, support for farmers and food access.

The workforce development activities will include partnering with Quinsigamond Community College to set up a culinary training program to offer a variety of food service certifications for those seeking work in the food service industry, especially those unemployed or underemployed. It will also include the establishment of a food service business incubator using the certified commercial kitchen space available at the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) for local entrepreneurs interested in starting a food related business.

The support for farmers will include the ability to do some product processing and storage using the WCFB kitchen. The hub will work with a small number of farmers to assist with aggregation and distribution of their crops for larger institutional purchasers such as area colleges and hospitals. The hub will also aggregate produce from a few farms that will be frozen for sale in the off-season by using the flash freezing equipment available at the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center in Greenfield.

With regard to access to healthy foods by those who are currently underserved, the food hub will continue to work with the Worcester DPH on their ongoing corner store initiative and will expand REC's mobile market.

Co-Project Director: Mr. Steven D. Fischer, Regional Environmental Counci
Co-Project Director: Mr. Timothy P. Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fiscal Agent: Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Back to top
 
Year:2015Amount: $161,650
Title:Worcester Regional Food Hub - Planning
Recipient:Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
The Regional Environmental Council (REC) will partner with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to explore the creation of a regional food hub in Worcester. A food hub offers a means to expand access to healthy foods by supporting local producers and consumers. While working together on the project, the Chamber will focus its energies on the business model development and REC will focus on addressing food insecurity for low income residents.

There are presently about 300 food hubs in 45 states that generally coordinate key logistical functions such as the aggregation and storage of product; processing, often including the production of value-added products; marketing; and distribution. Food hubs can help eliminate barriers that make it difficult for small producers to meet the requirements of institutional or retail consumers. They can also sell directly to consumers through retail outlets or mobile markets.

Co-Project Director: Mr. Steven D. Fischer, Regional Environmental Council
Co-Project Director: Ms. April Anderson Lamoureux, Economic Development Consultant, 
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fiscal Agent: Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Back to top