Yolo Food Hub Network
The Yolo Food Hub Network (YFHN) formed in 2021 with the goal to establish a new food hub facility in Yolo County that supports local and regional agriculture production, purchasing, and consumption. The new facility, located in Esparto, will aggregate, process, store, and distribute farm produce grown in Yolo County and surrounding areas on behalf of farmers in the area. The Yolo Food Hub Network expects the facility to expand food production and distribution channels in Yolo County and in the Greater Sacramento Region, while at the same time improving healthy food access, stabilizing food markets, increasing employment and job training opportunities, and providing pandemic relief for farmers, particularly for BIPOC and historically underserved communities.
Valley Vision, on behalf of several local partners, have been awarded a grant through a Local Food Promotion Program grant from USDA for the planning phase of the project. The total cost of developing Yolo Food Hub Network’s facility is estimated at $10 million, $2 million of which has been committed by Yolo County for site acquisition.
Food hubs help connect farmers and food entrepreneurs with regional markets and institutional buyers, such as schools, hospitals, and food banks to access source-identified, locally grown products. The first phase of the project includes developing recommendations and a funding strategy to help establish and sustain the new Yolo Food Hub Network and facility. As part of the planning phase of the Yolo Food Hub Network, this project will help farmers receive training on how to reach institutional buyers, such as schools, hospitals, and restaurants, which will buy produce and goods from Yolo Food Hub Network partners.
2022 Project Planning Activities:
1. Survey local farmers to determine their capacity and operational needs
2. Develop Yolo Food Hub Network’s marketing and financial plan to reach institutional buyers
3. Provide institutional market engagement training to farmers
4. Generate recommendations and a funding strategy to establish and sustain the Yolo Food Hub Network
The Yolo Food Hub Network and its facility are identified as a priority recommendation of the 2021 Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan-which is to build a network of food hubs to connect farmers to markets and increase institutional procurement. The Yolo Food Hub Network and facility builds upon the 2014 food hub feasibility analysis conducted by SACOG through the Rural-Urban Connections Strategy (RUCS). The Yolo Food Hub Network is a collaborative effort and supports several other food hubs in the region, including Spork Food Hub and the Capay Valley Farm Shop.
The Yolo Food Network will help create market opportunities that local farmers need to better serve regional markets by providing services such as processing, distribution, storage, and packing. The Yolo Food Hub Network’s facility in Esparto will also increase consumer and buyer access to healthy and diverse local foods, improve farmer and market sales, and strengthen relationships between farmers, institutions, and local communities.
The Yolo Food Hub Network project team includes: New Season Community Development Corporation (NSCDC), Capay Valley Farm Shop (CVFS), Yolo Food Bank, Durst Organic Growers, Spork Food Hub, Esparto Train Station, Hatamiya Group, Kitchen Table Advisors, and Valley Vision as the project manager.
For questions about Yolo Food Hub Network, the facility, or how to get involved, please contact Grace Kaufman at Grace.Kaufman@ValleyVision.org.