Food Hub Management Professional Certificate program officially launched for the first time in Ontario

The Food Hub Management Professional Certificate program was officially launched for the first time in Ontario on March 5th, 2018. This one of a kind program belongs to the University of Vermont and is in its third year of delivery. The program was brought to the Ontario audience through a partnership between the Agri-food Management Institute, University of Vermont (Continuing and Distance Education) and the Greenbelt Fund.

Participants of the program are representatives of any organisation involved in the food system such as regional distribution hubs, private food enterprises, and nutrition programs.  Many chose to attend because they are putting effort into making sure they know all the ins and outs of running a food hub, to help the community they work with achieve its goals.  This year’s cohort has 19 people attending.

“We were excited about the opportunity to bring the Food Hub Management program to Ontario in partnership with Greenbelt Fund because it definitely fills a training gap in the province,” says AMI Executive Director Ashley Honsberger.

“Food hubs create the space for all sorts of outcomes, from health and nutrition improvement to food business incubation. This program addresses the need to build a multifunctional space sustainably, in order for all those community goals to be met,” Honsberger says.

The program is unique in design as it is comprised of two, week-long in person sessions which begin and end the program. Between March and October is facilitated online learning and a major project that will be presented at the program end in Ottawa.

The first in person session was hosted in Milton, Ontario and featured speakers from both sides of the border as well as tours of local ‘food hubs’ such as Gordon Food Services, Fresh City farms and Greenbelt Micro Greens.  The curriculum started with food hub fundamentals covering business formation and planning, marketing, sales, finance, human resources and risk management.

The program also covers food safety, product development and knowledge, supply chain management, storage and warehouse management, distribution, processing, technology, and value chain facilitation.  By the end of the program, participants are equipped with the tools they need to advance their career in food systems.