The Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC), one of the nation's 1,100 Community Action Agencies, is a regional leader in the fight against poverty. It develops a portfolio of self-sustaining social enterprises that meet the new and changing needs of its clients while creating reliable revenue streams in a time of decreased government funding.
In recent years, MVAC embraced the food hub concept in an effort to generate revenue for the organization and create a positive community impact. A food hub essentially works with institutions and consumers to create demand for local food, then coordinates production with small farmers to ensure the supply is generated to meet that demand. In 2014, the food hub sold 20,000 pounds of healthy, locally grown produce to residents, public schools and nearby Gustavus Adolphus College. MVAC expects this figure to jump to 400,000 pounds by 2017, resulting in a sizable impact on the bottom line for area farmers.
MVAC staff understand that fighting poverty is a complicated task that requires a multifaceted response. Its food hub and other revenue-generating initiatives provide the flexibility MVAC needs to advance its efforts.