If you listen to the folks organizing Bring It! Food Hub, this multi-farm distributorship offers much more than just another way to purchase local produce.
It’s a barometric reading of the Mid-South food movement, a cultural revolution, a tool to fight health problems.
General manager Christian Man heads an impressive who’s who of local agriculture overseeing the project, including principal adviser Chris Ramezanpour ( President of BioDimensions Renewable Oils) , and board member Jill Forrester ( Co-Owner / Manager of Whitton Farms and Trolley Stop Market ).
Bring It! is modeled after Intervale in Burlington, Vermont, one of the first food hubs supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“I would love to be able to expand on the amount of produce that I’m growing, but I don’t have the time to farm out in the field and also truck it around town,” Forrester says. “There’s been a need for a local distributorship in Memphis for a while. The food hub model has been popular on the East Coast and the West Coast. What we’re trying to do is bring it to Memphis. Hence the name, ‘Bring It!'”
A subsidiary of the Memphis Center for Food and Faith, Bring It will be run as a non-profit, delivering local produce to congregations, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and households.
“We say we have a triple bottom line,” Man says. “We’re trying to make enough money to sustain our operations, but we sort of define success by how much we help farmers grow and also how much food we’re able to sell into limited-income communities.”
Bring It! has signed up about 20 farms so far, and Man is currently gauging interest and courting CSA (community supported agriculture) subscribers so farmers involved can plan their crops. Bring It! members will receive a selection of fresh produce on a weekly basis beginning in May. Bring It! will operate out of Whitton Farms Cannery at 694 Madison.
“With the boom in farmers markets that we’ve seen across the city over the past three years, the number of farmers is increasing at the farmers markets, trying to get in and establish themselves and grow their own agribusiness,” Forrester says. “The time is now. I don’t think there’s been a better time in Memphis. This is Memphis’ best shot of having a food hub.”
For more information on Bring It, call 901-444-3055