Getting food to market
Food is big business. A more localized food system can have major impacts. RFSA supports venues like farmers’ markets, but growing food for direct sales is only one step to making it available to local consumers. The prevailing high-volume processing and distribution system is hard for small-scale local growers to access. RFSA’s priority is expanding food hub and processing infrastructure to ensure a local-to-local farm-to-fork system.
FOOD PROCESSING AND HUBS. Food hubs are processing and distribution centers that provide wider access to markets for small to mid-sized producers. We work with existing distribution, processing, and cold storage facilities at Riverside Unified School District for fuller capacity.
- Fox Farm small-scale food hub for Riverside Food Co-op operations; and Riverside Unified School District pilot food hub.
COOPERATIVES. Food is a social issue. A cooperative is an open membership community-owned business intended to benefit the community as opposed to being primarily profit motivated. We encourage cooperative and other collective organizational models for producers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers.
- Kiva crowd-funding for Fox Farm food hub;
- Riverside Food Co-op Monthly Member Crop Box and Al Centro mini-Produce Stand partnership with Eastside HEAL Zone.
SUPPORT FOR DIRECT SALES. We foster existing and new farmers’ markets, farm stands and U-Pick operations that offer the public a sense of the people and processes behind their local food community.
- New farmers’ markets at Riverside County Medical Center (Moreno Valley), Lemon and 10th Street (Riverside), and UC Riverside.
SUPPORT FOR COTTAGE FOOD BUSINESSES. A cottage food business is a small-scale production of non-potentially hazardous food products such as baked goods, jellies and jams. We helped develop a cottage business program to encourage value-added food products that extends farm marketability outside the growing season and expands employment in the food sector.
- Cottage Food promotions at GrowRIVERSIDE Community Gatherings.