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Food Connects Welcomes New Food Hub Warehouse Specialist

www.foodconnects.org

Food Connects is excited to welcome Raymond Johnston to their Food Hub team as their new Warehouse Specialist. This new position will work to increase efficiencies in the Food Hub’s warehouse, maintain and oversee systems and regulatory compliance, and take on the daunting tasks of inventory management.

Raymond joined the team in late July. He has spent the majority of his professional career working in the food industry, including in kitchens and, most recently, in warehouse distribution. His experience working with large distributors will help Food Connects take the steps it needs to take to scale up the Food Hub without impacting the great service they provide, as well as avoid any major pitfalls and inefficiencies common to the distribution industry. “It was during orientation at a new job for a major national food distribution company that I realized that a more sustainable and ethical version of food distribution is where I really wanted to be making a difference,” says Johnston.

At Food Connects, the Food Hub team works year-round to ensure that schools, institutions, grocery stores, and hospitals have access to locally sourced foods. Johnston’s new role will ensure that inventory maintenance and quality control of products are at the forefront of Food Hub operations and that the safety and sanitation of their warehouse are paramount—all resulting in a better user experience for Food Connects customers. “My hope is to make the Food Hub as efficient and streamlined as possible,” says Johnston. “So we can serve larger orders and customers seamlessly.”

And the Food Hub is thrilled to have Johnston on the team. “We couldn’t be more excited or grateful that Raymond joined us!” says McKenna Hayes, Food Hub Co-Director. “He brings valuable, and much needed, expertise and knowledge from his time working in much larger food distribution warehouses. I’m excited to see how he applies that to our warehouse. We’ve got a lot of work to do to support our continued growth and Raymond is totally up for the challenge!”

“I am excited to be part of an organization making a positive change,” says Johnston. “I think the local food movement is important and helps people, in general, know where their food comes from, and to at least think about how it gets to them. The less stuff in general, but perhaps food especially, we ship long distances across the country or around the planet the better we'll all be.”

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 115 local farms and food producers to over 195 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region.