From Executive Director Lisa Ousley:  As After the Harvest gears up for the coming growing season, we’re excited to be working with a new partner – Fresh Farm HQ (FFHQ).

Fresh Farm HQ opened for business on April 18. It’s a new cooperative owned by farmers and serving farmers who live and operate farms within a 250-mile radius of greater Kansas City. Its vision is to create an economically viable business through which small- and medium-sized farms sell cooperatively to buyers and businesses promoting the benefits of locally-grown produce.

Wayne Parks, Operations Director for Fresh Farm HQ, said the mission of the organization is to improve the economic viability of small- to medium-sized farms by coordinating aggregation hubs, bringing farmers and buyers together in a community that benefits growers, businesses, and ultimately, consumers.

As a unique food hub model with a strong social mission, FFHQ plans to partner with After the Harvest to ensure that excess and graded-out fresh produce from participating farms is distributed throughout the area’s network of social service agencies, including ATH’s key partner, Harvesters, the Community Food Network.

One of Fresh Farm HQ’s core beliefs relates to Community and states that “…everyone in our community deserves access to fresh healthy foods.” At After the Harvest, we share that belief. Our organizations will work together to ensure that Kansas Citians struggling with poverty and food insecurity are among those who benefit from the bounty of Fresh Farm HQ.

After the Harvest is already working with several of the food hub’s founding farmers, and we hope to secure more partner farmers through our connection with FFHQ. In the future, these partners will provide more gleaning and produce salvage opportunities throughout our region, increasing the amount and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that we can provide to hungry families in our region.

FFHQ is in the process of establishing subhubs surrounding the Kansas City area, which will serve as aggregation points for participating farmers to use. The produce will then be delivered from the subhubs to buyers throughout the Greater Kansas City Area.

“Through our operations, we will help farmers become economically successful by giving them a consistent market for their products,” Parks said. “Our products will also make it possible for groceries, restaurants, wholesalers, institutions, and other market outlets to meet customer demands for locally produced foods.” FFHQ also offers a corporate buying program that allows businesses to support healthy lifestyles among their employees.

For more information about Farm Fresh HQ and to reach Wayne Parks, e-mail him at .