Mendo Lake Food Hub
Caroline Radice, Project Manager
The purpose of the Mendo Lake Food Hub is to enhance the competitiveness and utilization of locally-grown specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, herbs, and spices). Located in Ukiah but extending from the the Mendocino Coast to Clear Lake, the Hub is the “easy button” for farmers and retailers when it comes wholesaling local produce. Coming to fruition in 2015, it has helped many farmers in Mendocino and Lake Counties to expand their markets to customers otherwise unreachable due to geographical isolation or lack of distribution infrastructure.
The Hub works by providing that necessary infrastructure, lightening the leg work of the farmer to get his or her produce to retailers. The website interface allows farmers to get online and post the produce that they wish to sell for a given week (i.e. a 20 lb. case of tomatoes, or a 12 bunch case of kale) which can be viewed on weekly or bi-weekly ordering cycles by customers such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, or individuals who wish to buy produce in bulk.
Once orders are placed, farmers get "pick tickets" showing what needs to be delivered, and produce is taken to a strategically placed cold storage "node" - a clever repurposing of shipping containers. Through a partnership with Mendocino Coast Produce, these orders are picked up from the nodes and delivered directly to the customers.
Established: Farm2Fork started in 2011 thanks to a 2-year grant through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crops program. Farm2Fork expanded into the Food Hub in 2013 with a 3-year CDFA – USDA “Specialty Crop” grant.
Funding We Bring to Our Community: $390,021 over three years from 2013-2016.
To learn more, visit the MendoLake Food Hub website.