Newly Formed Georgia Sustainable Ag Coalition Has Sights Set on Food Hubs
ATHENS, Georgia – Local food hubs may be the next evolution in Georgia’s agricultural industry, turning the state’s largest economic sector into an even larger engine of job creation and rural community revitalization.
To aid in the development of food hubs – infrastructures that provide an outlet for local farmers to get their products into the hands of local businesses – agricultural stakeholders have joined forces to create a Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Key partners include University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Farm Bureau, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Georgia Organics, and Community Health Works.
The creation of the coalition was made possible through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Planning Grant.
“The goals of the group are to support sustainable agriculture systems and improve rural economies and communities by collaborating to create and deliver science-based information to current and future farmers, students, policymakers and the general public,” said Julia Gaskin, who coordinates extension programming in sustainable agriculture at the University of Georgia. “One of our goals is to create two food hubs in the state within the next five years.”
To help create awareness among stakeholders, policymakers, farmers, businesses and others interested in sustainable agriculture and the future of Georgia’s agricultural industry, the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will hold a kick-off event on October 27th.
Food Hubs for the Future: Growing Georgia’s Mid-Size Farms will take place from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at The Georgia Center, Mahler Auditorium in Athens, Georgia.
The event is free and open to the public. The event will also be broadcast via a free webinar.
The featured speaker will be Jim Barham, of the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. A panel discussion will also be included, featuring Gary Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture; Govind Kannan, Fort Valley State University; Scott Angle, University of Georgia; Alice Rolls, Georgia Organics; and Don McGough from the Georgia Farm Bureau.
“We’ve got a strong agricultural industry and we’ve got all of these great resources.” said Gaskin. “The purpose of this group is to have a coordinating body that can help leverage and focus those resources in areas where there is sufficient public and private interest.”
For more information about the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Coalition or the kick-off event, contact Julia Gaskin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Munden-Dixon at email@example.com or log on to http://extension.uga.edu/calendar/event.cfm?pk_id=928.
Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region.