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Fireweed Food Hub

Helping get more local food in our local economy

What is a Food Hub? 

We are Winnipeg’s first co-operative Food Hub: an aggregator and wholesale distributor of locally produced vegetables, meats, honey, grains, and other food products.

By aggregating locally grown foods, Food Hubs fill a gap in the supply chain that smaller scale, regional producers often struggle to bridge. In doing so, Food Hubs provide a more competitive alternative to the global food supply chain which still supplies most of our grocery stores and the food service industry.

 

This keeps more money in the local economy and helps ensure that our small farmer members have a future-- a key aspect of food security.

Read more about our 2020 Pilot Food Hub year in our blog. 

Our Vision

We are driven by a sustainable and socially just vision of Manitoba’s food system in which regionally-sourced, low-carbon-input foods make up a more competitive share of the market for fresh foods in the province. 

 

Smaller scale, low-input, mixed-crop agriculture still feeds the majority of the world, has a lower carbon imprint, and is more adaptive, regenerative and resilient in the face of climate change. We believe in the power of collectivization of agriculture of this kind as part of a better future for all Manitobans, one that increases ecological resilience, maintains supply chain transparency and increases food security for our province. A Food Hub can help us make this vision a reality. 

Food Hub Impacts

Economic

 

Acting as an aggregator, research shows that a Food Hub can be a useful tool by which small to medium-scale producers can gain increased access to regional wholesale markets at a lower labour cost to themselves, increasing efficiency and increased resiliency in the local food system. 

Educational

A central role of Food Hubs is to educate the public on sustainability in food, creating a central space for consumers and producers to connect. We envision our Food Hub offering programs where increased access to food security and food education is central-- programs like community gardens and kitchens, and/or new farmer incubator programs.

Policy

 

A Food Hub can work with community partners and stakeholders to conduct research and develop policy initiatives that increase food security and food sovereignty in Manitoba. As a multi-stakeholder cooperative, our Food Hub will actively seek to engage with our members on policy work. 

Food Hub FAQs

What is a Food Hub?


A Food Hub is a catch-all term for an economic model that seeks to aggregate food products from one region and provide a central channel (or hub) through which they are sold to regional buyers. It can look very different depending on the model.




What is Fireweed’s Food Hub Model?


The model we're taking for this 2020 pilot year is a wholesale consignment model, where Producer Members of our Co-op can become Food Hub suppliers, and post their products and inventory for sale through an online platform.




What is a Food Hub Pilot Year?


As a non-profit social enterprise, we received a grant from the Canadian government which has helped to partially fund a one-season applied research project for a Food Hub in Winnipeg in 2020. Our pilot food hub year is a slightly scaled-down version of what we envision our full operations to look like in order to learn as much as we can before taking on more financial risk as we scale up. In other words, we’re starting small, learning as much as we can through actually operating as a food hub, and then taking what we’ve learned to grow and expand. With your support, the Food Hub will continue to exist after the pilot year is over!




How does food get sold through the Food Hub?


Fireweed Food Hub operates on a consignment model. This refers to the fact that Fireweed Food Hub does not purchase inventory from Suppliers and resell it. Instead, we provide an online platform on which all our Suppliers can post their inventory to be browsed and purchased in one central place. Consignment is the model recommended for fledgling food hubs due to risk and capacity factors, but in the future some Food Hubs move towards an inventory model.




Who does the Food Hub sell to?


Fireweed Food Hub sells to wholesale customers only such as restaurants, grocery retailers, and institutional foodservice providers. The Food Hub does not sell to individual or household consumers. Over the longer term, we hope that this will help grow the overall market demand for locally produced food and allow farms to focus more on farming, and less on direct marketing. It can help existing farms scale up to find new levels of efficiency, and possibly help more small farmers enter the market. It's a longer term goal, but we believe that taking a systems-approach will help get more good food to more Manitoban households over the long run.




Who are the Food Hub’s suppliers?


Fireweed sources exclusively from our Co-op Producer Members who are all small to medium scale Manitoban farmers and food producers. Many of our suppliers are dedicated to continually improving their farm’s ecological and social resiliency through spray-free and Organic Certified growing, crop rotation, free-range meat production, and fair pay for farm labourers. We are dedicated to providing a transparent supply chain in all our operations and we will never purchase from re-sellers of any kind, nor from non-Manitoban producers.




How can my business or organization buy from the Food Hub?


To become a buyer from the Food Hub, email our Food Hub Coordinator Anna at foodhub@fireweedfoodcoop.ca




How can my farm or business sell through the Food Hub?


To become a Supplier to the food hub, check out our Supplier Information page or email Anna at foodhub@fireweedfoodcoop.ca.




How can I support the Food Hub?


Not a farmer or a grocer, but passionate about local food and want to support the Hub? Amazing! The best way you can support us is by becoming a Supporter Member in our Co-op. Your yearly membership fee is pay what you can, and helps to fund our operations. As a member you can also participate in our organization at a board level, and vote on by-law changes at our Annual General Meeting in the fall. You may also make a contribution to our ongoing work. We appreciate your support greatly!




Where is the Food Hub located?


Fireweed Food Hub is located at 1338A Clifton street. Our entrance is at the REAR of the building. Do not go to Fresh Option which is 1338-- go around the side of the building to the back and find our door.





Our Community Partners

A Food Hub is a collaborative endeavour, and we are excited to have many community partners who are part of making this a reality. We are also lucky to be supported with funding by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Grant fund, the Manitoba Cooperatives Association and Assiniboine Credit Union.

 

We are also thankful to have the official support from our producer members in the industry: Harvest Moon Society, Direct Farm Manitoba, and the Prairie Fruit Growers Association. And finally, this would not be possible without the ongoing support of our co-op members.

We are a community service co-op spearheaded by community stakeholders to connect producers and consumers of local food.