Micro-Farming Network Plans Expansion to Southwestern New Mexico
By Deming Headlight
January 9th, 2019 – Backyard gardeners and small-scale farmers can band together to reach larger markets and increase their sales revenue by “Building a Micro-Farming Network in Southwest New Mexico” from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Commons, located at 501 E. 13th St. in Silver City. The event is free and open to any and all aspiring and current growers and food producers.
The workshop is sponsored by the Southwest New Mexico Food Hub, a program of the National Center for Frontier Communities and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural’ s Local Food Promotion Program.
The SWNM Food Hub is entering its second year of operations. During its first year, the Food Hub distributed and sold over 10,000 pounds of locally grown produce throughout the state with the money from the sales returning to fill the pockets of regional food producers.
The Food Hub’s project specialist, Ben Rasmussen says, “A majority of our sales have been to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but we reach local markets in the southwest including retail, restaurants, schools, caterers, and churches.”
With the acquisition this winter of a new van, the Food Hub plans to expand qualities of produce it can distribute and transport to larger and more diverse markets.
Last year, the Food Hub sold southwest regionally grown produce to 17 different market venues. The Hub has saved its participating 13 small-scale growers over 25,000 miles of travel by consolidating transportation costs, thus saving producers travel time and costs while increasing the growers’ profits.
Rasmussen says, “This way the growers can spend their time doing what they do best– growing food– while the Hub allows them to reach markets previously out-of-reach and increase their sales revenue while cutting costs.”
At the workshop regional producers can learn about the Food Hub’s expanding business model and how they can participate. Rasmussen said, “We are looking to potentially launch a food hub direct to consumers sales and expand to sell dry goods, grocery and value-added produces.”
The Food Hub can help interested growers scale their operations with price listing to larger markets, products markets have the most interest in and coordinated harvests so small-scale growers gain a share of orders by larger markets.