"Food hub" to provide local produce to Kansas institutions

Centralized facility would allow growers to reach larger institutional customers.

Jan. 28—A "food hub" of local farmers could make it easier for people like Debbie Carter, who manages food service operations at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, to get sustainable produce into her facility. 

Carter said, as an institution that serves about 700 meals a day, it’s often hard to find local produce in large enough quantities on a regular basis.

“A lot of times they’ll call me and say, ‘I have extra of this,’ and that’s how we use it,” she said of produce offered by area farmers. “There really is no place that they can take it to when they have extra, which is what is needed in Lawrence.”

That’s the issue that the Douglas County Food Policy Council hopes to address in the near future.

By developing a local “food hub,” organizers hope they can provide a centralized facility that can buy and aggregate locally produced food and make it available to larger, institutional buyers in the area on a regular basis.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

FSD Resources