Needs Assessment for the Establishment of Food Hubs Using Geographic Information Systems

2014 Annual Report for GNC12-156

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2012: $9,902.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Iowa State University
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Cynthia Haynes
Iowa State University
Faculty Advisor:
Jennifer Bousselot
Iowa State University

Needs Assessment for the Establishment of Food Hubs Using Geographic Information Systems


2014 Summary

We identified and surveyed 97 food hubs. Ninety percent of respondents were for profit, operating as corporations (47%) or cooperatives (38%). We found no correlations between area population and type or profitability of food hub. Fifty-four percent reported having been in business less than 10 years, and gross profit increased with age. Physical, financial, human, and information resource requirements varied greatly between food hubs. The highly variable context specific nature of food hubs made obtaining meaningful results from aggregated data difficult. Creating a collection of case studies may be more useful for prospective food hub managers developing new food hubs.

Objectives/Performance Targets


    • A list of conditions that favor success of food hubs


    • A process to establish a successful food hub


    • Increased awareness of these conditions and process


    • Increased awareness of how these conditions vary spatially and how the correct location can affect success or failure


    • Use of this information to encourage the development of new food hubs.






    • Compiled list of 97 food hubs in the region


    • Conducted survey on required resources and analyzed survey results


    • Conducted geospatial analysis using survey results, food hub locations, and demographic data


    • Presented results at American Society for Horticulture Science


    • Completed Dissertation: Values-based supply chains: Local and regional food systems in the Upper Midwest United States






    • Acceptance of manuscripts in peer reviewed journals


    • Completion of extension publication


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes


    • Increase number and size of markets for local producers


    • Increase consumer access to local fresh produce through multiple supply chains


    • Provide additional job and business opportunities in rural America.



Dr. Cynthia Haynes
Associate Professor
Iowa State University
106 Horticulture Hall
Department of Horticulture
Ames, IA 50011
Office Phone: 5152944006
Colleen Johnson
Account Clerk
Iowa State University
Department of Horticulture
106 Horticulture Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Office Phone: 5152941916