Webinar: Food Hubs – The Missing Link for Farm to Cafeteria

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Author: Avalon

Posted: January 30, 2013

Categories: Edible Education Network / Food in the News / GoodFoodBites / Local Procurement / Schools / Webinars

Farm to Cafeteria Canada‘s “Dig In” webinar series, in cooperation with the Ontario Farm to School Challenge, are pleased to bring you an exciting opportunity to learn about local food hubs serving the needs of school food programs. Julia Erlbaum, Founder and Principal Consultant at Real Food Colorado, will discuss her experience with existing food hub models and programs that support schools’ ability to access and use more locally-grown food.

This webinar will be held Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 3pm and will be 30 minutes long. Register now!

Webinar Description

Foods hubs can be an integral part in fulfilling the missing link of a local food system and alleviate barriers that often highlight the limited resources in the who, what, where and how of local sourcing. This is particularly a key concern regarding how school districts can make meaningful connections with their local producers (and vice versa) with the end goal of receiving and utilizing locally grown ingredients for their school meal programs.

At the core, the FTS programs in the United States intend to bring “healthful, farm-fresh foods to school cafeterias and to create a new market opportunity, in the sizeable federal school food program, for small- and mid-size family farmers”[1] while improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.”[2] In essence, any working food hub for FTS products would essentially act as stewards of a deeply rooted sense of fairness, equal representation, as well as edible and academic education regarding health, food and agriculture—while providing an essential service that must meet the needs and demands of the local agriculture community and its school purchasers.

Register for the webinar!

Julia Erlbaum’s Bio

Julia Erlbaum is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Real Food Colorado (RFCO), a Colorado-based local food development organization addressing system, infrastructure and programming needs within the local food industry including Farm to School (FTS) and Farm to Institution (FTI) marketplaces.

Julia’s entrance into the local food and farm to table arena first began as a consultant to a Western Slope Colorado orchard with a companion processing business. She was responsible for the Orchard’s business development project to expand a local FTS local processed product into more than 47 Colorado school districts, accruing more than $750,000 in sales in three months. It was through this development project that Ms. Erlbaum recognized a need for infrastructure and system processes that could provide critical support to connecting local farms and their communities. An entrepreneur at heart, Ms. Erlbaum has been grateful for her previous professional experiences that spanned more than 20 years in business development and management, multi-media marketing and communication.

For the past three years, RFCO has collaborated with Colorado school districts and Producers in FTS program development, specifically in creating sustainable and effective methods allowing access and use of more locally grown and raised foods in the school meal system.

RFCO projects include:

  1. The Annual Farm to School Conferences gathering Colorado stakeholders
  2. The Southwest Farm to School Conference and Pre-Bid Workshop
  3. The Denver Public Schools (DPS) Urban Farm Feasibility Study and DPS’ Urban Farm Program (USDA Farm to School Grant Recipient)
  4. The Colorado Springs D11 and Arkansas Valley Organic Growers Producer Food Safety Verification Pilot Project
  5. Colorado Springs D11 School-Based Food Hub Pilot Project
  6. The Arkansas Valley Organic Growers Food Safety Overview Workshop
  7. Northern Colorado Farm to School program
  8. Greeley-Evans Weld 6’s School-Based Food Hub Pilot Project (USDA Farm to School Grant Recipient)
  9. Colorado Produce Growers Food Safety Plan Workshop Series held in Weld, Pueblo and Tri-River Counties of Colorado
  10. Wyoming Department of Agriculture Farm to School Workshop Series and Wyoming First Annual Statewide Farm to School Workshop (Feb 2013)
  11. School Food FOCUS District Partner (Jefferson County Public Schools)
  12. National Farm to School Workshop presentation at the 2012 Conference held in Vermont
  13. Weld County Public Health and Environment Healthy Weld 2020 projects including the Northern Colorado Producer Food Hub Project
  14. Denver Seeds initiative in local food projects with REvisison International
  15. The Front Range Foodshed Project mapping local food assets within 18 counties from Laramie, WY to Pueblo, CO
  16. Currently is involved with the Core Team and Evaluation and Pilots Working Group of the Colorado Farm to School Task Force (State Legislated).

[1] (Isumi & Wight, Farm to school programs: exploring the role of regionally-based food distributors in alternative agrifood networks, 2009)

[2] (The National Farm to School Network)