Working to bring a food hub to North Branch

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The Farm to Fork meal WEI hosted at the North Branch Senior Center Oct. 8 was well attended. Participants talked about how to increase the reach of the North Circle Project. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Hagen-Kennedy spoke at the event. Photo supplied

The Farm to Fork meal WEI hosted at the North Branch Senior Center Oct. 8 was well attended. Participants talked about how to increase the reach of the North Circle Project. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Hagen-Kennedy spoke at the event.
Photo supplied

A food hub, according to Jacquelyn Zita, director of operations for education and farm management at the Women’s Environmental Institute at Amador Hill, is “a way for farmers to aggregate their produce for distribution.”
She, WEI program manager Elly Balmer and more than a dozen area farmers and other interested parties are hoping to make a food hub a reality in North Branch, which is part of WEI’s North Circle Project.
The North Circle Project, Balmer explained, is “designed to start creating a local network of organically minded farmers who want to do good for their communities.”
The North Circle Project originates in North Branch and extends its reach to farmers in Chisago, Pine, Isanti and Washington counties, with a few ambitious outliers beyond.
“We’ve had this North Circle Project for a little while, but we received a Statewide Health Improvement Plan grant and thought, ‘We need to promote this a little more,’” Balmer said.
Zita said a food hub would be “more than a farmers market.”

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