SCALE Completes Food Hub Feasibility Study for Douglas County, Kansas
Completed in June 2014, the Northeast Kansas Food Hub Feasibility Study provided production, market and logistical analysis for an aggregation, storage, and distribution facility for regionally-produced foods for a 16 county region in northeast Kansas. Working with the Douglas County Food Policy Council and many regional partners, SCALE collected critical market data for a regional food system, enabled conversations about future investment in rural agriculture and food infrastructure businesses, and provided a replicable model for similar studies statewide. Nearly 100 key stakeholders were interviewed, including more than 50 local farmers.
SCALE used research, surveys, interviews, site visits and in-depth conversations with a wide range of food system actors in order to gather both quantitative and qualitative data, and more fully understand the local food community and analyze the regional food system. This analysis focused on production potential and projected demand for local foods in key market segments believed to be compatible with the region's farmers and the DCFPC's goals. Priority was given to strategies that built upon existing farms and local foods initiatives, rather than supplanting them. Michael Shuman, the internationally acclaimed author and analyst, joined SCALE's efforts and conducted an Economic Impact Analysis as part of the study. These efforts allowed SCALE and the study partners to set a strategy for a regional food hub's development.