Food hubs are a crucial, but often invisible, part of the local food system. They help small farms grow by offering a combination of production, distribution, and marketing services.
There are now 236 food hubs in the U.S., with more popping up all the time. Some are physical spaces, some virtual online spaces, but all are concerned with connecting the dots between producers and consumers of food in local and regional food systems.
Food hubs can be thought of as helpful middlemen that connect producers (farmers and ranchers) with institutional buyers (restaurants, hospitals, schools, etc) and end consumers. They help farmers gain access to larger markets so they can focus more on farming and less on marketing, distribution, etc.