The Black Hills Food Hub, run by Black Hills State University, had a successful summer and is making plans to continue deliveries throughout the winter season. Food Hub coordinator for BHSU Jessica Stori remarks on future plans and the overall success of the program thus far, including internship opportunities for BHSU students.
BHSU created the Food Hub in 2015 to help connect producers and buyers to help promote local food. From summer 2018 to the end of the fall harvest, the Food Hub made approximately two dozen deliveries.
BHSU also offers students of all majors an opportunity to intern with the Food Hub and participate in local food efforts working on campus and with agricultural partners.
This season, Stori and the Food Hub interns, who are also BHSU students, visited local businesses and producers in the Southern Hills. The goal was to educate more people about the program and to add more names to the buy and sell list. The BH Food Hub has added approximately a dozen buyers and a dozen producers since 2017.
Weather was not on most farmers’ good side this season. Battling hail, low floods, and other weather factors, producers were still able to participate in the Food Hub delivering meats and a variety of greens to several buyers including Chute Rooster and Xanterra, one of the food services at Mt. Rushmore.
Gathering produce from hydroponic farmers and meat suppliers, the Food Hub is able to operate year-round.
Stori said, “We will be hosting a Winter Crop Workshop in December or January to educate producers on planning for crop harvest year-round.”
Food Hub deliveries are scheduled ahead of time and made once a week. The Food Hub makes deliveries to both the Northern and Southern Hills. The farthest delivery as of yet is to Mount Rushmore in Keystone.
“Our goals are to increase local food consumption by people of all demographics. We also hope to bolster the local foods economy and help educate more on the topic of local food,” Stori said.
Local food has proven to be beneficial for the environment, community and economy. It is also recognized as healthier and more flavorful according to Stori.
Some Food Hub products include: beef, honey, jams and jellies, radishes, raspberries, chard, lettuces, and more.
Stori commented, “The only reason we would turn away a product is if it is poor quality.”
About Black Hills Food Hub:
BHSU created a community food initiative called Black Hills Food Hub in 2015 to help build the local food economy. By 2020, the Food Hub will become fully sustainable as its own entity, separate from BHSU. The main activities of the Food Hub are coordinating food orders and deliveries, networking with food buyers and producers, and planning educational opportunities.
Participating active buyers include:
A’viands (BHSU Dining), Spearfish
Botticelli Ristorante, Rapid City
Chute Roosters, Hill City
Holiday Inn, Spearfish
Regional Health, Rapid City
Xanterra (Mt. Rushmore Memorial), Keystone
Participating producers include:
Belle Valley Ancient Grains, Newell
Backyard Produce, Spearfish
Cox Sweet Corn, Vale
Elk Creek Foods, Owanka
Evergreen Ranching & Livestock, Custer
Gages Gardens, Spearfish
Jennings Angus Beef, Spearfish
Kirby’s Dakota Grown, Newell
Moonrise Mountain, Spearfish
Owl Creek Organics, Arpan
Rock Valley Gardens, Rapid City
Sunrise Hives, Spearfish
Topbar Farms, Milesville
Tri-County Lockers, Newell
BHSU student interns from the summer and fall season:
Isaac Grassel, math major from Spearfish
Krista Kerutis, biology major from Spearfish
Sarah Richards, photography major from Clinton, Iowa
For more information visit www.BHSU.edu/FoodHub or contact the BHFB Coordinator Jessica Stori, Jessica.Stori@BHSU.edu