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Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub was Awarded The Good Food Access Equipment Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture!
12/22/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator

Local growers in Aitkin County were looking for an inexpensive way to cool their produce and was awarded funding to help purchase 17 foot trailer that will be renovated into a mobile walk-in cooler for the Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub. 

The mobile walk-in cooler is called "Pack 'N Cool" designed to keep vegetables, fruits and flowers at ideal temperatures they are harvested in fields and will be location to store produce until they are delivered to wholesale buyers. The Pack 'N Cool" unit combines the mobility of trailer with the refrigeration capabilities of commercial walk-in cooler. 

To follow the Aitkin Farmers' Market check out their Facebook Page! 

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Additional Project Funders: 

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Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub and SHIP Make a Partnership with Wholesale Buyers to Expand Local Food into Intuitions!
12/22/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator

More customers! More farmers! Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub Manager, Allison Rian, delivered more fresh local produce to more Aitkin area institutions including Aitkin School District, Aicota Health Care Center, Community Food Shelf at First Lutheran! In the photo gallery above is Bev with Buck Hills Farm posing with her cabbage at the food shelf.

Also shown in the picture gallery is Allison Rian showing her excitement of local produce being delivered to The Joint which is located south of Aitkin located on Highway 169. Allison and her family went to the restaurant and found some great signs and great food! The picture above shows her Chicken BLT salad made from fresh greens from the following local farms: AlliCat Farm, Buck Hills Farm and Maple Ridge Farm. These farms participate as local vendors on the online platform (Open Food Network) the Hub has to make purchasing local food easy for wholesale buyers!

Please support The Joint and other local businesses that support local! A dollar spent locally circulates many more times in the community and benefits many people and families. 

The Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub is additionally being supported by the Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) grant from Aitkin County CARE who was awarded funds by the Minnesota Department of Health. The goal is to increase food and nutrition security in Aitkin County!

This story was also shared on the Minnesota Farmers' Market Association website! Nice work Allison Rian and Team!

Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub Offers Market Share and Veggie Share Boxes in the 2022 Season
12/22/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator

"What's the difference?" Market Share vs. Vegetable Sides. The white box is for Vegetable Sides. It costs $13 per box. This box is intended to provide the side dish for a few dinners for one or two people. You should not feel overwhelmed by the amount of veggies. I also try to stock this box with only "familiar" vegetables that are already staples in your cooking. I solemnly swear I will never surprise you with an eggplant.

The brown box is for Market Share. It costs $25 per box. This box is intended for larger families or "foodies," people who cook a lot with vegetables and/or like to preserve them for later. It will have slightly more than twice the amount of food than the Vegetable Sides. Be aware that if you choose this box, there may be something new to you inside! An eggplant, tomatillos, hot peppers, Asian greens... you never know!

Both boxes include recipes provided by Aitkin County SHIP. If you do get a vegetable you don't recognize, check the recipe in your box! 

Aitkin Farmers' Market Hub Awarded the Local Food Promotion Grant with Renewing the Countryside 
12/22/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator
First, one might be wondering what is a Food Hub?  That is a good question!
  • Food hubs bring together product from multiple farmers and offer it to larger-scale buyers.

  • Farmers who don’t have enough time or product to reach larger markets on their own can sell through a food hub.

  • Buyers who can’t deal with separate accounts for multiple farmers can buy local through a food hub.


The Farmers’ Market Hubs project will continue in 2022 through 2024 with a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant in which Renewing the Countryside was awarded. The Aitkin Farmers' Market (AFM) Hub is one of the market hubs in Minnesota that will be receiving these grant dollars.

This project will create functional and efficient connections between small-scale local farmers, institutional and wholesale buyers, consumers, and those suffering from food insecurity. Aggregation programs create opportunities for farmers to access local buyers, increase profits, and grow sustainable businesses, while providing buyers with expanded local product choices. By developing and expanding ten Farmers’ Market Hubs (including the AFM) in Minnesota, aggregation of product, online ordering, and utilization of farmers’ markets help overcome wholesale barriers, including buyers’ needs for product volume and consistency, online ordering capacity, regular delivery, compliance with food handling regulations, and reducing cost. Farmers gain efficiencies through group marketing, licensing, insurance, invoicing, and order management without added costs of a brick and mortar food hub. 

Renewing the Countryside, MN Farmers’ Market Assn, MN Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, MN Dept of Agriculture, MN Statewide Health Improvement Partnership Coordinators, local farmers’ markets, and others will build on five years of preliminary work to develop and expand our Farmers’ Market Hub model to five new Hubs and further develop five existing Hubs. Renewing the Countryside expects that 240 farmers will gain the potential to increase the amount of local food sold and consumed within 10 communities. 800 food insecure individuals, including those homebound, in treatment centers and seniors, will gain access to local food through subsidized Market Share boxes. Over 60 schools, hospitals, retail establishments, health and human services entities will participate in purchasing and serving local food.
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