LOOKING FORWARD - - TWO PROJECTS FOR THE FUTURE
NEW FARMER TRAINING CENTER (Incubator)
KITSAP FOOD HUB
An incubator combined with a food hub can alleviate some challenges.
Let's envision a viable plan in Kitsap.
We start with a network of local, experienced farmers and support as well as supplement them with a farmer training program. We then add a storefront. For simplicity's sake, let's focus on North Kitsap and say that the first storefront is located in Kingston so as to have access to the ferry system, thus connecting with farmers on the "other side" of Puget Sound. This broader scope provides a supply of fruits and organic meat that might not be available in Kitsap. The storefront could be run as either a nonprofit or a co-op, whichever offers the best prices to farmers and consumers. Farmers bring their produce to the store, year round, and the food is distributed directly to individual customers. The centralized location makes nutritious local food supplies more accessible and more reliable for consumers and alleviates some of the time-consuming marketing tasks for farmers.
We could then add a commercial food hub. This could be a permanent building, such as the buildings on the Hansville Farm. A large cold-storage building already exists on this property. Attached to this building is a space that could be converted into a commercial kitchen, which would facilitate the making of value-added products that could be sold. Outside this cold-storage building is a loading dock, which makes the packing and delivery system more convenient. It would be to this location that farmers would deliver their produce that would then be collected together with other farmers' goods and distributed to local businesses and organizations such as restaurants, hospitals, and schools.
By the time the food hub is up and running, the land of Hansville Farm could be supporting several farmers, both those experienced in agriculture and those in training. Between the commercial hub and the storefront, the produce from the Hansville Farm, as well as from other local farmers, would have immediate access to markets.