WSU Whatcom County Extension

Community Food Assessment

WSU Whatcom County Extension        

Processing & Distribution

 

Key Challenges:

Institutional procurement of local or organic foods – This can be difficult since such products tend to be sold by individual producers. Institutions are looking for reliable, predictable, quality, bulk supplies of goods. For restaurants, cafeterias, and meal services, obtaining a large enough quantity of local foods can be challenging, and preparing it can be even more of a barrier.

Capacity for aggregation and processing is too low - Additional facilities are needed in order to provide locally produced food to institutional markets.

Inefficiencies in food distribution – Currently, many producers are making similar trips to distribute food from small farms or businesses to retail. Refrigerated food trucks and efficient distribution systems are needed for delivery of product from farms to food hubs to buyers.

 

Current Collaborations:

Producer-owned cooperatives and farm business development - Farmers are working with Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) to foster producer-owned cooperatives. NABC also works with producers to facilitate farmers’ value-added product development and increase processing and distribution infrastructure in Whatcom County.

Vegetable Processing - Cloud Mountain Farm Center, NABC, and Whatcom Farm-to-School are working toward a cooperative vegetable processing facility, with a pilot project to bring fresh processed vegetables to local schools and other institutional markets.

Poultry Processing – NABC has been working with poultry farmers to develop a WSDA-certified Mobile Poultry Processing Unit, or “MPPU.” The unit, which is now under construction, will provide convenient, legal, on-farm processing for poultry (including waterfowl and game birds), and also rabbits.

 

Opportunities:

Coordinated Whatcom/Skagit Food Hubs & Distribution - There is a lot of momentum around the Puget Sound Food Hub and the up and coming Cloud Mountain Farm Center processing facility/food hub. These aggregation sites allow for centralized food ordering systems, processing infrastructure to serve many farms, and efficient distribution to institutional buyers. NABC, Sustainable Connections, and others are helping to coordinate the efforts.


Processing Organizations:

These organizations are working to help increase the food processing capacity in Whatcom County and support development of value-added products.

Technical
Support
Education
Advocacy
Technical Support: Providing direct training, tools and assistance linking with resources.
Education: Providing information and promoting awareness to target audiences or the community at large.
Advocacy: Developing or influencing policy, regulations, or legislation.

 

Distribution Organizations:

These organizations are working on facilitating the movement of food from local farms to outlets where it can be made available to consumers.

Technical
Support
Education
Advocacy
Hunger Relief
Technical Support: Providing direct training, tools and assistance linking with resources.
Education: Providing information and promoting awareness to target audiences or the community at large.
Advocacy: Developing or influencing policy, regulations, or legislation.

 

Want more detailed information on processing and distribution?

See the relevant sections from the 2011 CFA:

Chapter 3: Where Does Whatcom County Get its Food?

Chapter 8: What Food is Processed in Whatcom County?

Other local, regional, national, and international resources



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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 • whatcom@wsu.edu