The Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub, with its beginnings at a location on Highway 99 in Salmon Creek, is destined to be a driving force in the support and sustainability of agriculture in Clark County and Southwest Washington. Its mission is to help maintain agriculture as a viable and respectable economic cornerstone and expression of life in our region.
Opened recently, the Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub expects to provide solutions, resources and business incubator services for farms, food businesses and food security organizations, in particular, small-scale producers, beverage crafters, few-acre orchards and berry growers. The organizers envision a centralized place for the year-round aggregation, distribution, marketing, processing and sale of locally produced food goods, largely from Southwest Washington farms, ranches, dairies and food artisans.
The Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub will be a space where employees, suppliers and community members can express, explore and elevate the agricultural abundance that enhances the livability in our region.
The Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub, named for the second phase of food production and processing, could greatly reduce the burden on small-scale producers and significantly increase the profitability and economic viability of food production. Clark County has no such facility or service that can adequately provide the affordable, available 24/7 commissary kitchen, warehouse, cold storage, logistics or delivery service needed. Most local producers ship their product to aggregators or co-packers far outside the area, mostly to Oregon, leaking money from Clark County, spending additional dollars on freight, and increasing the environmental impact from transport and waste.
Producers also face the prospect of being turned away due to stringent volume minimums because large-scale commercial growers dominate the local co-packing industry. Other local producers depend on personal relationships and sometimes manage to cobble together the various pieces of the supply chain, wasting money, time and limiting profitability.
The Second Mile commercial kitchen is now available for small-food producers. Interested bakers, caterers, chefs, culinary creatives and food truck operators are welcome to connect with the Second Mile at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a 24/7 day a week kitchen, equipped and fully certified by Clark County Public Health as well as the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Storage, including freezer, refrigeration and shelving is available. Farm producers interested in aggregation, distribution or marketing services may contact Second Mile at email@example.com.
The organizers of the Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub expect a measurable economic and social impact in the community as seen with more dollars circulating within the region, job creation across a spectrum of sectors and a happier, healthier population fed by fresh, flavorful local products. The Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub will get Clark County recognized as a food producing destination, as robust and vibrant as other much loved regions in Washington and beyond.
Holly Hansen is a member of the Clark County Food System Council, and was instrumental in getting the Second Mile Marketplace and Food Hub up and running. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.