Local Formers Team Up with NW Regional Food Hub in Richland
RICHLAND, Wash. -- Agriculture is big business in eastern Washington but many local growers are actually small farmers, who often have a hard time competing with the big growers.
However, The Mid-Columbia Market at the Hub, is working to change that. "The Hub," is an all-volunteer organization that has been growing slowly for the past 5 years without any grants, loans, or debt . The mission is to support local farmers and producers so that they can make a living wage through selling their produce and products to local consumers.
"We're pretty convinced that we can do a grocery store with just our local area growers. We have a wonderful ag community and people just haven't had access to the things are grown right outside their doors," said Dani Smart, one of the volunteers who runs the Hub.
Currently, the small grocery store located at the corner of Gillespie and Goethels Drive in Richland has 72 local vendors who sell their goods, everything from organic chocolate, to raw milk to homemade honey sticks.
"I think that's the best part about it, that we can keep our local farmers going as well and we can get it just straight from the farm. I love it. I grew up on a farm from around here, so its nice," said Ginger Kidder, a first time shopper.
In 2012, they gave more than $222,000 thousand dollars back to local growers, all by cutting out the middle man.
"We run on a 15% commission just to keep the lights on and the roof over our heads.And that's why we all volunteer, to keep that overhead as minimal as possible. And that way 85% of every sale goes directly back to the farmer," Smart said.
Each month volunteers give over 500 hours of time so that our farmers can continue to farm and our producers continue to produce while we help them sell their goods.
Anyone can shop at the Hub but the store also offers memberships for those who are interested in being more connected with our organizations. Because they do not buy wholesale and sell retail, they do not offer discounts to members.
Right now the Hub is comprised of a commercial kitchen that is also Ag Certified as well as the retail market.They plan on expanding, building their first greenhouse on property across the street to help extend our farmers' growing seasons. And hope to have a public market that is run by our farmers' cooperative - for the farmers, by the farmers.
For more information, visit their facebook page here.