Food Hubs, Unite
A few weeks ago, Corbin Hill sent three staff members to attend the National Good Food Network Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The intent of the conference was to connect members of the food value chain together to take healthy, fair, affordable, and environmentally green food to scale, touching more lives in a positive way. The NGFN conference is the only conference in the US with a central focus on the success of food hubs. Since Corbin Hill operates like a non-traditional food hub, it was a fantastic opportunity for us to network and learn from fellow organizations working across the value chain. We asked each of our staff members to share a bit of what their main takeaways from the conference were and how they plan to apply what they learned to their future work at Corbin Hill.
Erica Christensen, Strategic Growth and Operations Manager
“Being at the conference was a unique opportunity to be in rooms with many like-minded individuals doing similar work across the country. Being able to connect with people from different places to share ideas and troubleshoot problems was exciting and energizing. It was also comforting to know that there are other groups across the country struggling with some of the same challenges that we do and others that have already overcome them. Learning from the experience of others and creating new connections will most certainly help the Corbin Hill team strengthen our work and improve our ability to best meet the needs of the communities we serve.
It was also exciting to speak on two panels. One about equity and the other on the operational pivots different food hubs have taken over the years. Being able to share Corbin Hill's story and work was very rewarding and provided an opportunity for us to share our own learnings and experiences with others in similar positions.”
Claudia Urdanivia, Outreach Coordinator
“My main takeaway from this conference was being able to see the different partnerships that happen in the world of food supply chains and networks in order to move food around and provide fresh food access for all communities. The National Good Food Conference centered on bringing together the different actors together in the food system to create fresh food access, uplift farmers, and best practices for food hubs. I enjoyed hearing people’s stories, particularly when shared their challenges, successes, and how they uplift each other’s work in a way that magnified their efforts. I was personally interested in how people do outreach in low-income communities in a food hub setting because Corbin Hill operates in a similar way. Many people shared their techniques and strategies for getting more folks involved in their programs. Most of my job focuses on outreach for our Farm Share program, so that was really useful in terms of how to combine this position using both outreach engagement and sales. I was inspired to see the work of everyone across different parts of the food system and how it involves different parts of the food chain from production, aggregation, transportation, operations, and all the way to outreach and engagement with the community.”
Dana Finkelstein, Logistics and Procurement Coordinator
“The conference was a great opportunity to network with other practitioners who are interested in food systems change. We compared models, shared successes and struggles, and came away with some really practical ideas about how to create greater access for low-income Shareholders and communities. We look forward to testing and integrating these strategies into the Corbin Hill model. It was also particularly enlightening to learn about ways in which other food hubs are building statewide and regional coalitions to address commonalities and scale their impact. The New York market certainly has a lot to learn from these success stories as we think about ways to work together to make health, farm fresh produce accessible to everyone in the city.”
Corbin Hill is always looking to evolve in ways that make it possible for us to serve those most in need. We are currently in the process of implementing many of the skills and lessons we learned from the NGFN conference in our daily operations.
Mint is a cool and refreshing herb. Summer is around the corner, which means you can sneak mint into all your drinks, dishes, and desserts to keep cool. Check out the following recipes for a few quick and easy mint dishes.
1/2 cup fine bulgur
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup boiling-hot water
2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 bunches)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber*, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing on bulgur to remove any excess liquid.
2. Transfer bulgur to a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients, including 2 tablespoons oil, until combined well.
*These long, narrow cucumbers are often marketed as "European" and are usually sold in plastic wrap to protect their thin, delicate, unwaxed skin.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Cook Time: 40 mins
Moroccan Carrots with Aleppo Pepper and Mint
1 1⁄2 lb. small Thumbelina carrots or large carrots cut crosswise into 1 1⁄2-inch lengths
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. roughly chopped mint
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sugar
1. Place the carrots in a 10-inch, deep-sided skillet and pour in 1 1⁄2 cups water. Season the carrots liberally with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the carrots, turning as needed, until they just begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Using tongs, transfer the carrots to a cutting board and let cool. Halve the Thumbelina carrots (if using the large carrot pieces, cut them in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1⁄4-inch-thick half-moons).
3. Return the skillet to the heat, add the garlic to the cooking liquid, and boil until the liquid reduces to about 3 Tbsp. and is syrupy, about 3 minutes.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the 1 teaspoon of salt along with the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, Aleppo, cumin, and sugar. Pour the dressing into a large bowl and stir in the carrots to evenly coat in the dressing.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the carrots for at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Saveur
Cook Time: 20 mins
Refrigerate: 2 hours