Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation

Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation

Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation

Farm to Table: Building Local and Regional Food Systems

From direct-to-consumer approaches to institutional relationships to product aggregation, there are a variety of ways farmers can access local markets. Learn more about some of the most popular strategies.

Cooperatives | Community Supported Agriculture | Farmers Markets | Farm to School/Institution | Food Hubs

Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation: Cooperatives

Beef Cooperative Marketing Materials


Marketing materials and membership agreements developed by the Adirondack Grazers Beef Cooperative.

Cooperative Farming


A cooperative is both a type of business and an attitude. 

Download File (11.51 MB)

Guide to Starting a Locally-Scaled, Local-Foods Based Cooperative


Information on planning for and running a cooperative can be found in this handbook. 

Download File (1.25 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Cooperatives (a collection of ATTRA publications)

The Food Co-op Initiative's library of resources (training materials, reference documents and more for starting a food co-op)

Resources for Food Co-op Start-ups (Neighboring Food Co-op Association)

The Role of Cooperatives in Local Food Systems Development (USDA Rural Development webinar)

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Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation: Community Supported Agriculture

CSA Training Manual for Producers


This manual will provide new and prospective CSA farmers with the basics of CSA management. Incluye el manual en español.

Granby Sampler


This resource reviews steps taken to build a successful multi-farm CSA in Granby, Conn.

Download File (20.94 MB)

Guide to Financing Community Supported Farms


This guide outlines alternative, local funding sources that farmers can use to finance their farm business,

Download File (3.65 MB)

Local Harvest


Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook offers straightforward guidance on cooperative marketing, an innovative practice that is helping CSAs stay strong and viable over the long term.

Download File (1.87 MB)

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Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation: Farmers Markets

Accepting Bridge Cards at Michigan Farmers Markets


This resource manual will help farmers markets decide if they should accept food assistance benefits. If they decide to become an authorized SNAP retailer, it will help implement this food assistance program. 

Farmers Market Managers Training Manual


This comprehensive training resource provides tools for market managers to be effective and to overcome common obstacles they face.

Download File (7.04 MB)

Selling at a Farmers Market


This plain language guide guide explains how to begin selling at a farmers' market, including choosing a market, applying for space, designing displays, setting prices, making sales and keeping records.

Download File (1.08 MB)

The New Farmers' Market


In one complete volume, this must-have resource for direct market producers covers the latest tips and trends from leading-edge sellers, managers and market planners all over the country.

Understanding Food Safety


This document lays out permitting requirements and safe food handling practices at farmers markets.

Download File (467.42 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

SNAP at Farmers Markets: A How-To Handbook (published by USDA-AMS, USDA-FNS and Project for Public Spaces, Inc.)

Market Makeover: 25 Best Practices for Farmers' Markets (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)

Farmers Market Coalition Resource Library (webinars and publications related to building successful farmers' markets)

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Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation: Farm to School/Institution

Community and Local Food Resources Website


This website provides resources for rural communities looking to strengthen their local food systems.

Cooperative Extension Farm to School Resources


Farm to School resources available from ASAP in North Carolina.

Edible Avalon Curriculum


This summer program curriculum teaches youth about local food systems and sustainable agriculture.  

Download File (349.07 kB)

Farm to Hospital Toolkit


Tools farmers and hospitals can use to increase direct hospital purchases from local producers.

Download File (1.43 MB)

Farm to School Training Toolkit


Resources for ag educators and community leaders who are starting a farm to school program.

Download File (1.80 MB)

Hands-On Produce Preparation Workshop Guide


Host workshops to break the barriers that prevent schools from sourcing their food locally.

Download File (6.04 MB)

REAP Farm to School Website


The REAP Farm to School program aims to "connect children, farms, and food."

Sustainable Food Purchasing Guide


This guide was written to help institutions determine how to source more sustainable food options.

Download File (294.47 kB)

Vermont Food Education Every Day


Includes guides for farmers and food service personnel working to increase local food in schools.

Wholesale Packing Resource Guide


This plain language guide is for farmers and ranchers interested in selling to supermarkets, produce distributors, restaurants and institutions.

Download File (816.09 kB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Best Practices for Handling Fresh Produce in Schools (National Food Service Management Institute)

Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)

Farm to School (USDA's Farm to School program website)

Farm Fresh Healthcare Project How-To Guide (Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Health Care Without Harm)

Food Safety for School and Community Gardens (NC State University and NC A&T State University Cooperative Extension)

National Farm to School Network 

Searchable farm to school resource database (Edible Schoolyard Project website)

Videos of school gardening activities and lessons (Life Lab)

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Local Food: Distribution and Aggregation: Food Hubs

Assessing the Economic Impacts of Regional Food Hubs: the Case of Regional Access


This report assesses the economic impact of food hubs on the distribution and sale of local foods.

Download File (927.13 kB)

Evaluation of the Intervale Center Food Hub


This evaluation highlights practices from the Intervale Food Hub that were critical to its success.

Download File (337.35 kB)

Food Hub Development in Iowa


In 2014, a team of local and regional food leaders and researchers conducted a study of food hubs in Iowa. The goal was to better understand the current state of food hub development and create recommendations, if warranted, to support further work. This study was the first coordinated attempt to examine food hub development in Iowa.

Download File (510.12 kB)

Food Hub Starter Kit


Southern SAWG's Food Hub Starter Kit contains a short, annotated list of food hub resources that will be useful for anyone interested in developing a food hub. 

Download File (197.27 kB)

Great Falls Food Hub Feasibility Assessment


Results and implementation plan from a feasibility assessment of the Great Falls Food Hub.

Download File (1,019.32 kB)

Sustainable Food Systems for Georgia’s Agrarian Future


This report analyzes the need for food hubs in Georgia to help facilitate a regional food system.

Download File (2.09 MB)

Additional Resources

The following resources, which were not funded or produced by SARE, contain valuable information.

Food Hub Facility Design Case Study (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)

Local Food System Toolkit (Leopold Center resources on developing and managing food hubs)

National Good Food Network website (resources and webinars on food hubs hosted by the Wallace Center)

Production Planning for Aggregators (Leopold Center guide for large-volume buyers)

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and the Wallace Center)

The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing (USDA Rural Development)

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How to order

Availability varies by resource (many are accessible for free online). See individual resources for more information.


Troubleshooting Farmers' Markets


University of Minnesota Extension Specialist Ryan Pesch explains how to address some of the common challenges farmers' market managers might face. This and other interviews of stakeholders in the local food system are part of the Community and Local Food Resources website.

Andrea Godshalk5 (NC-LW)

Interested in using high tunnels and other season extension techniques to increase local food sales?

Check out the High Tunnels and Other Season Extension Techniques Topic Room.

Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing a SARE Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF).

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a USDA-wide effort to share information about grants, loans, tools, resources and stories related to local and regional food systems.