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Sustainable Agriculture

Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium

Mission

Picture of a table at a farmer's market with various types of vegetables for saleThe mission of the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium is to foster the
development of sustainable agricultural systems and local/regional food hubs to improve rural economies and communities.

 

Food Hubs

Although agriculture is the state’s largest economic sector, it can become an even larger economic engine creating more jobs and revitalizing rural communities. Today, the majority of Georgia’s agricultural production is concentrated on large-scale production with vegetables and meats going into wholesale markets throughout the nation and the world. There is a growing, but much smaller-scale production model where produce and meats are directly sold to the consumer.

What is missing in our current system are mid-scale farms and the infrastructure for these farms to access wholesale and institutional markets that want local, sustainably produced foods. Local/regional food hubs are a way to provide this missing link. Because food hubs aggregate, distribute and sometimes process local and regional foods, they have potential to improve rural economies and quality of life through job generation and increased viability of mid-scale farms.

James Barham, an agricultural economist from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service spoke at the Food Hubs for the Future: Growing Georgia's Mid-Size Farms Conference hosted by the Consortium. The archived conference with audio and powerpoints can be found here. If you just wish to view Mr. Barham's powerpoint on regional food hubs, please click on this link.

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Goals

Goals for the consortium over the next five years are to:

  1. Form a working network structure that will facilitate interaction between key institutions and stakeholders,
  2. Quantify barriers and infrastructure needed for local/regional food hub development,
  3. Conduct life cycle analysis of vegetable and grazing systems,
  4. Begin research on multi-species grazing systems,
  5. Increase research and extension on small to mid-scale vegetable production systems, and
  6. Create two local/regional food hubs in Georgia.

History

Successful creation and implementation of food hubs must be a cross-sector effort. Leadership roles must be available for members of academia and both public and private sectors. The agricultural colleges at Georgia’s land grant institutions—the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University—and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are leading the effort to form the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium.

This consortium will bring land-grant universities together with other interested academic institutions and key governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to pursue science-based information to aid the development of food hubs in Georgia.

The Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium was formed by University of Georgia College and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Fort Valley State University College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Other key partners are in this effort are: Georgia Organics, Georgia Farm Bureau, Community Health Works, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and Georgia USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. A united effort will foster the progress of interdisciplinary research, extension, and learning needed to support this new layer in our food system.

The Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium has published a white paper, titled Sustainable Food Systems for Georgia's Agrarian Future. This paper details the research behind the creation as well as specific goals for this Consortium.

Interactive Map

Georgia Farmers Interested in Selling to Food Hubs

Georgia Farmers Interested in Food Hubs

(Please click here or the map above for full interaction and size)

This map compliments the report, "Is There Farmer Interest in Food Hubs in Georgia?: A Needs Assessment Survey," published by Julia Gaskin, Kate Munden-Dixon and Carrie Furman in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and Marc Beechuk in the College of Environment & Design.

These points correlate to farmers who are interested in selling through Food Hubs, broken out by production type. Note: These points do not correlate to actual addresses, only to counties.

Farmers interested in becoming a part of this map or Food Hub operations looking to aggregate farmers may contact Kate Munden-Dixon for further information at katemd@uga.edu. Please be aware that contact information is not available for every point.

Take our survey!

By taking this one-question survey you will help us know who we are reaching and are interested in this topic. Thanks for taking the time!

 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

 

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Contact

If you would like to get involved or more information please contact Julia Gaskin, University of Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator at jgaskin@uga.edu or Kate Munden-Dixon, University of Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Program Assistant at katemd@uga.edu.

Resources

GMEN Presentations - For the complete archive of both presentations that include the speakers comments as well as questions and answers segment, please visit this site. You will be taken to Wimba where you will be prompted to enter your name. You will then run a set-up to ensure your computer is compatible.

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