BURLINGTON, Vt. – The University of Vermont will launch in January an innovative Food Hub Management Certificate program, the first of its kind in the country.
The program is a unique blend of hands-on, community-based, online and on-campus learning that will prepare students for effective management of food hubs and provide essential tools to advance their career in food systems. UVM’s Food Hub Management Certificate is offered through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Continuing and Distance Education.
“Our network-based approach to food systems and commitment to local food make Vermont an ideal place to study food hub management. UVM is a leading academic institution in the study of food systems, and Vermont is a national model in the local food movement,” said Cynthia Belliveau, Dean of UVM Continuing and Distance Education. “Many food hubs are up-and-coming businesses with staff who need further training or experience. High quality staffing is one of the greatest challenges food hubs face, and it’s also a key contributing factor to their success. UVM’s Food Hub Management program can significantly help bridge the gap.”
A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. Regional food hubs are key mechanisms for creating large, consistent, reliable supplies of mostly locally or regionally produced foods. At the core of food hubs is a business management team that actively coordinates supply chain logistics.
Food hubs represent an emerging business model often characterized by early stage enterprises. Sixty percent of the food hubs in the United States have been in existence for five years or less.
“Successful food hubs present an opportunity for communities to make healthy food sourcing a profitable enterprise for producers, wholesalers, and retailers, while simultaneously improving access to local foods,” said Ann Karlen, founding director of Fair Food Philly and lead faculty member of UVM’s Food Hub program. “UVM’s Food Hub Management Program will provide hands-on training and help build a solid network of skilled practitioners in this expanding field.”
The program is geared toward individuals planning to create or manage a food hub, professionals with food hub experience looking to enhance their career, and food hub staff members interested in leadership development.
The UVM Food Hub program was designed by the pioneers who created the first Food Hubs and a diverse team of nationally-recognized experts, including food hub practitioners, technical assistance providers who specialize in food hub development, and several members of the National Good Food Network.
The program also includes a Vermont Task Force with representation from local food hubs, agencies and organizations, including the Intervale Food Hub, Shelburne Farms, Black River Produce, Mad River Food Hub, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA).
For more information, visit http://learn.uvm.edu/foodhubexperts.
Media Contact: Erica Houskeeper
UVM Continuing and Distance Education