Get to know the Michigan Food Hub Network

The Michigan Food Hub Network brings food hubs together to create something larger than the sum of its parts: A network of food providers across the state dedicated to supporting the growth and success of Michigan’s local food economy. Food hubs work every day to ensure all Michiganders have access to good food, greater local economic development, and environmental sustainability.

The Sprout Box is a customizable box of Michigan- grown and made groceries. Photo Courtesy of Sprout Battle Creek in Battle Creek, MI.

What is a food hub?

Food hubs are businesses or organizations that foster and manage connections between local farms and buyers to create a healthy, sustainable local and regional food system. Food hubs can be big or small, and each operates in a unique way. Many offer services like: Product aggregation, cold storage, light processing (chopping, freezing, etc.), grocery retail & delivery, wholesale distribution, and marketing. There are about 12 active food hubs in Michigan, most of which have been involved in the Michigan Food Hub Network since its inception in 2012.

The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network was originally formed with the goal of increasing access to financial and technical assistance, research and education for food hubs and their partners. Over time, the network has evolved to meet the needs and priorities of Michigan-based food hubs, and the growing demand for regional food products. A USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant in 2018 allowed the network to refocus on hub-to-hub collaborations and digital marketing efforts. 

At the start of the pandemic, many Michigan food hubs shifted their operations to provide food directly to their community through food boxes and home delivery. The network helped food hubs source products, work through logistical challenges, and even find better deals on packaging and boxes. Many of these programs have become permanent, meaning locally sourced food boxes are available curbside or delivered in some Michigan communities. There are many opportunities to connect with the Michigan Food Hub Network, whether you’re a food buyer, a grower or producer, or another food hub or distributor:

If you’re a local food buyer…

The network connects businesses and institutions interested in sourcing Michigan-grown or made products to the best food hub to fit their needs — from specialty gourmet products to high volume institutional sales. Michigan Food Hubs carry a wide variety of products including, Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, dairy, cheese, eggs, lightly processed produce (chopped, shredded, etc.), bread & baked goods, shelf-stable products (jam, sauces, oil) 

By working together, Michigan food hubs have access to more local products and services across the state— which means greater variety and volume for buyers. Use the Michigan Food Hub Network to connect to a hub that can fulfill your order.

If you’re a grower or producer…

Our network can help expand your wholesale market and add value to your products. Michigan food hubs are looking for growers and producers both large and small. Contact us to find out how you can become a Good Food supplier. 

If you’re a food hub or distributor of regional food products…

Connect with the network today and learn how we can support your business or organization. The bigger the network, the greater our potential to impact the health of communities and viability of Michigan farms and food business. 

Are you ready to connect to the network or find a food hub near you? Reach out to Noel Bielaczyc, Network Coordinator, at [email protected].

Funding for this article was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM180100XXXXG125. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.