Arcadia is working to establish a Food Hub to help get healthier, local food into school meals and the Washington, D.C. area market for sustainably produced food. The Food Hub will expand economic opportunity for regional, sustainable growers and increase market access to healthy, local food.
Arcadia’s Food Hub program areas will include:
We will distribute fresh, local food to low-income communities, restaurants, nonprofits, retail businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions.
We will educate farmers about the environmental benefits and economic viability of sustainable agriculture while educating the public about the importance of buying local food and supporting local farmers.
We will provide concrete and logistical services to a network of regional farmers to create a more sustainable food distribution system and expand the production of sustainable, small-scale agriculture in the National Capital region.
Small-scale, sustainable producers generally sell through direct farmer-to-consumer avenues. This practice is reflected in the 150% increase in the number of farmers’ markets operating in the United States over the past decade. Despite this rapid growth in direct farmer-to-consumer sales, however, more than ninety-nine percent of agricultural products consumed in the U.S. are purchased through wholesale channels. In the Washington, DC-area, locally grown produce accounts for less than seven percent of the $16.8 billion spent annually on fruits and vegetables.
Any serious initiative to scale-up local food production requires a distribution system that reaches wholesale markets. It will also require working with Washington, DC-area farmers who are interested in adopting sustainable farming methods but have not yet done so due to increased costs and an unreliable market. To that effect, Arcadia’s Food Hub will educate Washington, DC-area farmers about the long-term environmental benefits and the economic viability of sustainable farming.