Saturday, March 16, 2013

Developing farm to table supply chains

Do you want your tomatoes from a local farmer, picked within the last 48 hours?  Or would you rather have them come from California or Mexico, picked within the last month, or two?  For the discerning food buyer, this is an easy choice.  However the supply is not there right now to meet the demand. 

Supply chain Professor Rob Handfield is working with NC State's Center for Environmental Farming Systems on a five year $4m grant from the US Department of Agriculture that will help local farmers develop distribution channels to plug into local restaurants and groceries.  Right now local farmers are not large enough and dependable enough to meet the needs of major grocery chains and large food distributors.  Their option is to sell at farmer's markets or roadside stands.  Is there a way that farmers can work together and develop distribution networks that would give farmers access to the retail market?  MBA students will be working with Professor Handfield to find out the answer. 

To learn more about the project, read today's story in the N&O

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