FoodHub unveils facelift, readies to go national
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
A new and improved FoodHub hits the Web Tuesday.
The Ecotrust online website FoodHub took the wraps off its new design Tuesday, introducing some new functionality to its growing marketplace for the business of food.
The upgrade comes as the site continues to grasp national attention — including from Pres. Barack Obama — and readies for a nationwide expansion sometime next year.
"We're proving the concept on the West Coast," said Deborah Kane, vice president for food and farms at Ecotrust, a nonprofit whose focus includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and Alaska. "But we need to go national pretty quickly."
Kane was at the White House last week at the invitation of the White House Rural Council and had the chance to brief Pres. Obama on FoodHub during a meet and greet.
"He said, 'That's a great idea,'" Kane said, recounting their exchange.
FoodHub was launched in February 2010 and, out of the gate, was recognized for its innovation as an online tool to connect food buyers — including school districts, restaurants, caterers, grocers and more — with food sellers. Typical marketplace listings involve a farmer with a bumper crop of something ripe and ready trying to find buyers.
FoodHub was built using grant money — $1.5 million in all — from organizations including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and private foundations including the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Northwest Health Foundation.
|How do farmers use FoodHub? Visit our story in pictures >>|
"We're working with food businesses of all sizes and shapes," Kane said. "Not just farmers but wineries, brewers, seafood producers, the list goes on."
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