Area food production hub being studied
The Roaring Fork Food Policy Council’s newest project is a Food Hub Needs Analysis study.
With the support of Garfield County commissioners, Oak Lodge Foundation, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and local residents, the council is exploring the interest and need for a food hub to serve the greater Roaring Fork food system, from Aspen to Parachute. The goal is for money to come from Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties, along with other supporters in the area.
Food hubs are being established nationwide to support the increasing demand for strong local food economies and to access locally grown, nutritious food.
According to the Food Policy Council, food hubs can provide services ranging from food processing, storage and distribution facilities for local producers; advisory and support services to local food enterprises; support collection and distribution of food currently going to waste from grocery stores, restaurants, farms and farmers markets; and needed education and support for new farmers and farming enterprises.
This project will utilize surveys, interviews and focus groups of food businesses and food system stakeholders throughout the region to determine needs that might be met with the development of food hub services and facilities.
Local food system stakeholders include food crop growers and ranchers, food product processors of any size, caterers and commercial kitchens, restaurants, public health and nonprofit organizations involved in food security and nutrition, community gardens, etc.
“The demand for local nutritious food is there, but with the complex demographics, ecosystems and economics of this region, a study of this type is valuable in showing us the best initial strategies and infrastructure to strengthen our local food system,” said council director Gwen Garcelon.
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Home values in western Garfield County are way up, according to tax assessors. That will contribute to a higher tax bill next year.