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We're transitioning to Essex Food Hub! Read more here and support the campaign to sustain this new hub for our community.
We're transitioning to Essex Food Hub! Read more here and support the campaign to sustain this new hub for our community.

Our Transition to Essex Food Hub

Sunsetting The Hub on the Hill

Since 2015, The Hub on the Hill has supported a burgeoning small farm movement and its leaders in navigating and clarifying the needs of our community. Over the course of its seven years, it offered a broad range of support at nearly every point along the food value chain, including: (1) aggregation and distribution, including last-mile delivery to consumers, restaurants, grocers, and institutions; (2) a commercial kitchen for rent and co-packing service; (3) affordable rental of dry, cold, and frozen storage; and (4) brick & mortar and online marketplaces offering locally produced food. The groundwork laid fully established the integral role a food hub can and should play in our region.

In 2021, The Hub on the Hill founders decided to sunset their startup. They were certain, of course, that a food hub should continue to exist, and they expressed a desire for the next food hub to be community held and board-led as a 501c3 to achieve greater financial and organizational sustainability. 


Introducing Essex Food Hub

Since this decision, we have been hard at work to plan and raise funds for a new food hub, one that can benefit and grow from the fervor and experimentation of our predecessor and our promising but incomplete food system.

Founded in March 2022, Essex Food Hub, Inc. (EFH), is a 501c3 nonprofit organization created to succeed The Hub on the Hill, taking the lessons they learned to build a strong, sustainable, community-held food hub. We are on the edge of Haudenosaunee land that was shared with neighboring Wabenaki under the “one dish, one spoon” mandate of collective stewardship, in the Champlain Valley of New York State. Our mission is to forge pathways toward a just and sovereign food system in the North Country. 

EFH operates through close partnerships with small farms and value-added food producers; healthcare and educational institutions; other nonprofits supporting food systems and security; food banks and pantries; and other New York and western Vermont food hubs who share our core values.

We make a big impact on our rural economy and beyond. Since April of 2023 when we began our direct-to-consumer and resale operations, we have:

  • Put more than $120,000 in the pockets of North Country farmers;
  • Moved nearly $70,000 worth of food to as many as 575 New York households in need through our mutual aid partnerships;
  • Aggregated, distributed, and sometimes minimally process 27,000 pounds of food to more than 5,000 students receiving free lunch across the North Country;
  • Run six delivery routes weekly across the Adirondacks, down to the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley, and throughout New York City, as a distributor and as a delivery service for small-scale farmers and value-added food producers, traveling long miles to get food to towns that even Sysco won't serve;
  • Employed between seven and 12 (fluctuates seasonally) individuals year round; and
  • Provided permanent production space for four well-established, value-added food producers in our region, in addition to commissary kitchen space and co-packing services. 


      Support Needed for Essex Food Hub Succession

      Essex Food Hub has been operating with borrowed Hub on The Hill assets in a facility owned by the latter’s founders, who have asked Essex Food Hub to purchase operating assets by September, and the facility by the end of the year- lest they be otherwise sold. We are additionally nearing the close of a grant period with New York Health Foundation that supported personnel through our planning and early startup phases.

      Having inherited operations that incurred steady losses (nearly $400,000 in its seven years in operation) without having paid management or staff sufficient to run streamlined operations, our new organization will now be seeking external funds for startup costs as well as programming. 

      We know we can build a food hub that continues to make an ongoing positive impact and with stability, and you can too by helping us to close the $770,996 gap between our first two years’ startup costs and funds raised:

       Item Cost Funds Committed Remaining Need

      Purchase of Building

      $552,000 $114,000 $438,000
      Marketing & Technology $26,000 $13,500 $12,500
      Inventory / Equipment $186,402 $128,214 $58,188
      Salaries & Benefits $423,800 $161,492 $262,308
      TOTAL $1,118,202 $417,206 $772,996


      Donate Now

      What Your Help Will Make Possible

      In less than the past year, we have already raised more than $470,000 to support, improve, and expand this work! Since just April 2023, we have accomplished the following:

      • We have become the two-tier distributor for Tangleroot Farm, North Country Creamery, Crown Point Farm and Dairy, and YesFolk Tonics, in addition to continuing to provide logistical and delivery support for nine producers. Conversations to soon onboard four additional distribution partners are currently underway.
      • We have helped almost 50 regional institutions, not including schools, access local foods through our growing wholesale ordering, aggregation, and distribution services. 
      • We submitted a successful bid worth $157,000 to supply more than 54,000 pounds of foods from every major food group to Champlain Valley BOCES schools serving free lunch to approximately 14,000 students.

      With your support we'll be able to grow these achievements and our impact even further with the following opportunities in the near-term:

      1. Continue and build upon significant distribution capacity to relieve farmers of administrative and logistical burdens so that they can focus on production and scaling.
        • By September of 2023, we will have added at least two more farms and two more value-added producers to our portfolio.
      2. Create and expand retail and institutional markets for local food producers.
        • By January of 2024, we will serve an additional 5,500 students by becoming a vendor for the Capital Region’s Board of Cooperative Educational Services
        • By October of 2023, we will be supplying a portfolio of products to a major Capital Region retailer.
        1. Insulate community and statewide stakeholders from environmental risk and the impact of climate change- as well as major disruptive events to food chains such as seen during the pandemic- by strengthening and formalizing ongoing relationships with peer food hubs, to ensure a steady supply of nutritious food in the event of extreme events.
          • In October of 2023, we will submit a collective bid to Orange-Ulster County schools with food hubs from across the State of New York. We will also convene with other foods hubs across the state for our third planning session to formalize our relationships and strategy for pursuing larger institutional opportunities.
          1. Increase the participation of all community members in our local food system.
            • By fall of 2023, actively supply a large regional hospital and university who recently became wholesale customers.
            • By fall of 2023, establish programming to supply produce and meat to the Ticonderoga Food Pantry, serving 200 individuals weekly, on an ongoing basis. 

            We are all excited for the future of Essex Food Hub and the opportunities it presents for our community. Food hubs are increasingly recognized as one of the most effective models to support local food systems and tackle food insecurity, and they additionally provide dynamic solutions for building rural economies and addressing climate change-- we need to keep one here to serve our community!

            With your help, we can ensure that a food hub continues to exist for our region. Please donate what you can and share widely within the community!

            Donate to Keep a Food Hub for the North Country!