Need for Project
The Arkansas Valley region of southeastern Colorado currently does not offer a sufficient supply market for locally farmed food products. These products provide advantages with freshness and storage-life, quality, and inventory costs. A significant range of businesses and other institutions present demand and support of an internally sustainable food development network that is derived from local farms. Schools, healthcare facilities, catering, food transport, and restaurants are main market drivers. A consumer market composed of individuals also contributes to the total demand. These market drivers benefit from locally farmed products as it promotes philanthropic identities and improved access to products exclusively made available from small agriculture.
The region contains several small farms that can provide the supply market and benefit from the proposed development of an agricultural food hub that enhances the efficiency of goods production and sales. Most of these small farms do not have a sustainably viable infrastructure as they have limits on food storage and processing that would provide effective distribution of their products to market drivers. The distribution center will expand the operational market for these farms that currently function upon direct consumer sales to a larger scale including commercially designated businesses.
NewFarms is the primary developer and non-profit organization that aims to additionally integrate an educational role with this agricultural food hub in association with Arkansas Valley Organic Growers (AVOG), promoting industry training and assimilation for new entry farmers and students.
Collaboratively this commitment of regional small farms, with NewFarms and AVOG, working together with the development of the agricultural food hub will together establish agricultural industry success and economical sustainability for the region.
It is a building that will be equipped with storage, kitchen, and seed cleaning capabilities. Storage will consist of dry, refrigerated, and frozen to be able to better preserve food that farmers will be able to access and use. The kitchen will be used to make certain food items such as tamales, salsa, canned items, herbs and spices. With a seed cleaning unit small farmers will have the opportunity to utilize and clean their seed for their next crops.
The Arkansas Valley Grower’s Association (AVOG) is comprised of 10 farms in the region, which organize production planning, account management, pick-up and delivery among its members. With the structure already in place to distribute food, AVOG will be adding new farmers who are willing to market their food in better hopes of sales. AVOG also plans on adding new clients to distribute food to as well.
The risks associated with farming are temperamental and fluctuate with climate and adverse weather conditions. Implementation of a year-round greenhouse would further absorb negative impacts of weather. Moreover, if small farm productivity can show an increase during seasonal periods when outdoor farming is not suitable, then the consumer demand would be apt to follow a similar trend. The food hub will also be offering training and education classes to beginner or that are looking to get started. The education program presented by NewFarms effectively and intelligently communicates what small local farmers can better do to improve their production. This is a great program that will help many small farmers build their farm and begin to grow. Not many classes are offered in the agriculture environment, and the few that are offered are focused on the larger farms and others areas besides vegetable farms.
This project will offer support to the smaller farmers who do not have the means to store and keep there produce for long periods of time and assist the farmers in the distribution of their products. This cost is huge for new farmers who...