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Food Hub

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Food Hub: Getting Started

What Is Food Hub?

MVAC Food Hub is Southern Minnesota’s first and only non-profit local foods distributor. We are dedicated to developing new markets for locally grown foods in Southern Minnesota. MVAC Food Hub purchases fresh vegetables from local farmers and then we wash, pack and process the fresh veggies for a variety of consumers in our area. We’re working with many small-farm families to make fresh, healthy, locally grown food readily available across southern Minnesota.

Much of our food finds a home at several area schools and institutions, but you don’t have to be a large wholesale buyer to enjoy our fresh vegetables. Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program makes shopping for fresh vegetables easy!

Learn more: Frequently Asked Questions.

How to Participate

Purchasing CSA Shares

Purchasing a CSA share is easy and affordable! Three size options (full, half, or quarter) means that you can pick the amount perfect for you and your family. You’ll find the price of each of these sizes to be very close to what it would cost to buy a similar amount of produce at a supermarket, except you’ll be getting fresher, tastier produce with a longer shelf life.

You pay a low subscription fee, and every week during the growing season you’ll receive a box filled with a healthy mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, whatever is in season on local farms.

Plus, your CSA purchase will directly benefit local small-farm families, help MVAC in providing assistance to local low-income families, and decrease the environmental impact of agriculture and food transportation.

Pickup

CSA boxes will be available for pickup bi-weekly at MVAC’s offices (706 N. Victory Drive in Mankato). In addition, we’ll look into providing additional pickup sites to make it as easy as possible for our customers.

Purchasing Produce

In addition to purchasing a CSA share, the food hub now offers the option for individuals to specific produce from specific growers! Find the produce you want and the producers you like. This option gives you the flexibility to select just the items you want and need.

SNAP recipients can also take advantage of the Food Hub by contacting MVAC. Learn more.

Food Hub: A Closer Look

Local Impact

MVAC takes an entrepreneurial approach to maximize its impact in the region. Our new food hub is the latest example. The food hub creates new jobs, helps local small-farm families (one quarter of which are low-income) increase their sales, and provides additional support for the local economy.

Before the food hub, when local institutions purchased food, most of the money flowed to large corporations outside of Minnesota. The food hub instead directs those dollars to local small-farm families, who shop in our communities, send kids to our schools and pay state and local taxes.

Our Farmers

Minnesota-Grown Food

We’re working with many small-farm families in Southern Minnesota to make fresh, healthy, locally grown food readily available. We work with a variety of vegetable farmers ranging in size from 1-60 acres. This diversity allows us to source a wide variety of the freshest locally grown vegetables in the region.

While all of our produce is available seasonally, our farmers make every effort to extend the produce availability as long as possible. Many of our farmers have invested in greenhouses and high tunnels where cold-sensitive crops are started as early as February. With careful management of our cold storage facilities, we were able to stretch our supply of apples into March!

Learn more about our Food Hub Farmers.

Our Customers

Schools

We deliver locally raised fruits & vegetables to 14 schools in the Greater Mankato area. Thanks to grants from the USDA and Minnesota Department of Agriculture, we were able to add light processing equipment in early 2015. This equipment has allowed us to chop, dice and slice vegetables in order to supply schools with more locally raised vegetables in a prepared form. This takes considerable workload off their kitchen staff. Some of the most popular items with area schools have been diced watermelon and cantaloupe, prepared sweet corn, carrots sticks, baby carrots and apples.

Grocery Stores

In summer of 2015, we started a great relationship with both Hy-Vee stores in Mankato. The wholesale produce market is extremely competitive, but our growers were up for the challenge, supplying both the quality and quantity required for these high-volume markets. We were happy to supply some items to both the hilltop and downtown Hy-Vee stores. Our growers have appreciated this extra high-volume business. Some of the varieties featured in these stores have included head lettuce, bok choy, parsley, potatoes, sweet corn, cantaloupe, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries.

Families

Since opening in July of 2014, the MVAC Community Supported Agriculture program has brought fresh and local foods to nearly 200 families in the Mankato area. Our summer CSA includes more than 40 varieties of vegetables and fruits, all grown locally and fresh from the farm to you! We also sell bulk quantities to the general public; you don’t have to be a big business to purchase case quantities. We have several customers buy in bulk for their home canning needs and many of them buy in bulk and split cases with friends and family.

Restaurants

The MVAC Community Supported Agriculture program also supplies fresh and local foods to a variety of restaurants in the Mankato area. Local establishments looking to provide their customers with fresh fruits and vegetables can find what they need at the Food Hub. By utilizing locally grown produce, area restaurants help complete the Community Supported Agriculture circle, while providing their patrons with a fresh, high quality product.

SNAP Recipients

Eating healthy has never been easier or more affordable!

You can use your SNAP EBT card to get the lowest prices on a summer’s supply of fresh, healthy, locally grown food from MVAC Food Hub.

  • A large box of produce (about a week’s supply for 4-5 people) costs just $30 on your SNAP EBT card. A share sized for 2-3 people is available for $16, while a share sized for 1-2 people is just $8.5 per week.
  • Boxes can be picked up at our Mankato location each Thursday from June through October.
  • By subscribing, you are committing to the entire 18-week season of fresh produce.
  • Expect up to 40 different fruits and veggies over the course of the summer. Eating healthy has never been easier!
  • All you have to do is email joe@mnvac.org by June 1. Give us your name and contact info, and tell us you’d like to use your SNAP benefits to purchase local food.
  • Each Thursday, bring along your SNAP EBT card when you stop to pick up your produce.

Food Hub: Buy Local, Buy Fresh, Buy Now

Purchase or reserve your CSA share by clicking the link below, and check out other Food Hub merchandise!