Long since the days of its bustling seafood canneries, Astoria has been a hub for our regional food system. A group of local food leaders have come together with a vision to re-establish Astoria as a consequential food hub on Oregon’s north coast. After several years of regional food system collaborations, plans are in place and a location has been identified to create a central source for local food commerce-- Astoria Food Hub.
“We believe this building and business should be owned by the food producers, food businesses, and community we serve.” -- Jared Gardner, local rancher and Astoria Food Hub co-founder
Once purchased and renovated, this mixed-use commercial space will bring a diverse collection of local farmers, fishers, and food producers under the same roof, providing the storage, processing, and business support they need to meet the growing demand for sustainable food products throughout the region.
Use of Funds
After months of diligence, the group is set to acquire a 27,000 sq ft historic building in downtown Astoria, situated in the famed Riverwalk District (near Buoy Brewing). This initial round of funding will be used to secure the building and start permitting right away. Shortly thereafter, a planned second phase will fund a series of tenant improvements, such as onsite cold and dry storage, processing and distribution facilities, commercial kitchen, retail storefront, office space, food education, and marketing and technical assistance. The goal is to be operational by fall 2021.
U.S. farmers and ranchers earn 14.6 cents on every dollar spent on food in the U.S., the remaining 85.4 cents cover off-farm costs, including processing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing, and retailing. Net farm income has dropped 50 percent from 2013-2016, and it has remained depressed ever since. Astoria Food Hub seeks to improve the producer’s share of food dollars.
Regional food systems have one of the highest Local Multiplier Effect of any economic sector, meaning every dollar spent by farmers, fishers, and ranchers ping pongs around the community 9 times or more. Astoria Food Hub is investing in the infrastructure that the region's farmers, fishers, and food producers need to scale and strengthen the coastal community's food system and its food security, keeping millions of dollars in the local economy each year.
A diverse community of local food producers and leaders have participated in several years of regional food system collaborations, identifying the need for cold storage, distribution, commercial kitchen, marketing, and technical assistance. Demand is increasing for place-based brands and high-quality products from both consumers and institutional buyers. Astoria Food Hub is rebuilding the gaps in the regional food system infrastructure lost to over 30 years of intense consolidation by global corporations. This project will reconnect consumers with foods grown, harvested, and produced in their own community, ultimately elevating producers who create quality products through sustainable, ethical, and equitable means.
We know an amazing opportunity to make a difference when we see one--and this one was too good to pass up. Our team has been impressed by the vision and tenacity of this group to make Astoria Food Hub a reality. We believe wholeheartedly that this project will revolutionize the North Coast’s local food economy, meeting community food security needs and reinforcing the viability to scale regenerative & sustainable food production.
April 07, 2021
We Did It!
So much gratitude to everyone that stepped forward and supported this dream with your loan participations! 164 people financially joined the Astoria Food Hub family of supporters committed to growing a resilient, equitable, and regional food system. We are so grateful to each of you!
With only a few weeks to raise the $700,000 needed to fund the purchase of our building, it was a wild ride and we could not have done it without your financial and community support. All those social media shares (our video was watched over 20,000 times!), calls/texts to friends and family, and sharing your stories about food producers' needs for added local food infrastructure helped propel us to our goal.
Astoria Food Hub’s core team is now working to finalize designs and submit permits. We will be launching round two of loan participations through the Steward platform later this Spring to fund renovation costs.
Please help us get the word out about the next round of funding by “registering your interest” (especially if you didn’t make it into this first round) so you and your sphere can be among the first to hear when we launch round two. Go to: AstoriaFoodHub.com.
SAVE THE DATE for a zoom call on Tuesday April 27 at 6pm (invite via direct email) - you will get the first sneak peak on interior remodel and mission/vision/values statement that will guide our program offerings and tenant selections, plus timelines on next phases of buildout and future expansions.
How else can you support?
1) If you or someone you know is interested in launching a food business in the Astoria area, or expanding your food production business on the North Coast or SW WA, or you or someone you know is uniquely qualified to help others do so, please connect us. Well above and beyond the Astoria Food Hub are a number of resources we can collectively tap into!
3) Are you, or do you have a favorite food writer, radio show, or community “maven” who loves to tell great stories? Help us connect to folks who can tell the story of improving our regional food story through collaboration!
With wonderment and appreciation,
Jared, Corey, Ben, Warren, and team
March 14, 2021
First Week Update, Wow!
Thank you so much for being “first in” and getting us past the halfway point in less than one week!! With $386,000 raised by today we also hit the 50 official lenders mark for an average of $7,720. Truly amazing!
We have been blown away and have a much deeper sense of our interconnectedness. It’s an absolutely fun treat to connect with someone new only to learn they already know others deeply involved in this project.
As important…food producers and food businesses have been reaching out to collaborate in exciting ways beyond lending. Local grocers, restaurant owners and chefs are participating in the loan because of their excitement for more access to regional products. We really do feel like the community behind this project will help it have ripple effects well beyond its immediate activities!
Next steps for getting to the finish line in 10 days…!
1) Your passion for this project is enthusiastic. We have a goal of directly reaching 1000 people to invite them to lend $1000 knowing, as we have seen, some will be at $10k, $20k, $25k and others in the $100-$500 range with the majority at the $1000 mark. Talking to your spheres about why you participated will go a long way in moving this forward!
2) Spread the social media love! Follow/like/connect with us:
a. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/astoriafoodhub
b. Facebook: www.facebook.com/astoriafood
c. Instagram: www.instagram.com/astoriafoodhub/
d. Mailchimp newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/hsNj9f
3) Help us connect to folks who can tell this story. Are you, or do you have a favorite food writer, radio show, or community “maven” who loves to tell great stories? Help us connect and collectively improve our regional food economy!
With wonderment and appreciation,
Jared, Corey, Ben, Warren, and team
Meet the Team
Jared Gardner, owner/rancher of Nehalem River Ranch, raises grassfed beef and pastured pork for regional chefs, institutions, and direct to consumers. Jared also owns Nehalem Provisions, an aggregation company helping food producers keep more of the food dollar for themselves. Nehalem Provisions also runs the regional distribution company serving Food Roots, North Coast Food Web, and the 50+ food producers and food businesses in our region looking to grow their markets.
Michael Domeyer, owner/fisher of Tre-Fin Day Boat Seafood, grew beyond their own fishing operation and now supports multiple independent, line-caught sustainable fishers by aggregating and processing their fish. The Astoria Food Hub brings cold storage, distribution, and additional retail exposure to help more fishers keep more of their seafood food dollars through Tre-Fin’s services.
Corey Omey, owner/architect of EMA Architecture, a client-driven and planet-focused architectural design firm that is also a B-Corp. As trusted advisors and environmental stewards, EMA balances the synergies of people, program, and place to create spaces that reflect values, maintain resilience, and impart lasting positive impacts. EMA specializes in food and beverage and historic renovation, and brings a passion for food and food systems and deep personal commitment to this project.
Jason Stegner, owner/general contractor of Cove Built Construction, brings building and renovation experience from convention centers to schools, community centers, and grocers but equally important delivers on his ability to keep costs on budget and completions on time.
Benjamin Ariff, owner/producer of Straw to Gold Productions, provides interior design, wayfinding and creating connection to beautiful and historic spaces through video, web, and overall branding and marketing.
Warren Neth is a commercial real estate owner/developer and a leader in the Slow Food movement. He runs Cascadian Terroirist, a PR and marketing company that supports local food producers and food businesses.
This loan will be made to Astoria Food Hub LLC, an Oregon limited liability company owned by Jared Gardner.
The loan will be secured by a first mortgage on real property located at 1152 Marine Drive, Astoria, Oregon 97103. Astoria Food Hub currently has the property under contract with closing scheduled for March 31, 2021.
This campaign is "All-Or-Nothing", meaning that if Astoria Food Hub does not raise the $700,000 target amount, funds will be returned to participating lenders.
The loan has a five-year term with monthly payments consisting of interest only. This means that the loan will mature in five years, at which time there will be a balloon payment due, and Astoria Food Hub will either refinance or pay off the loan in its entirety.