THE PERCEIVED BENEFITS AND BARRIERS TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A FOOD HUB IN NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
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In recent years a food distribution business model, known as a food hub has emerged as a potential solution to help support local food economies. Small and mid-sized farm operators who are interested in entering the retail sector, may have trouble doing so due to their lack of sufficient product volume therefore, food hubs have become a popular alternative to traditional wholesale and distribution businesses in order to support small growers. The aim of this research was to understand if a food hub would be a beneficial distribution model for small farmers in Nova Scotia, Canada. Both primary producers (farmers) and representatives from the retail sector (restaurant owners, institutional representatives, etc.) in the province were interviewed using semi-structured interview methods. This data was collected and analyzed using thematic analysis in order to better understand the interview participants’ perceived feelings on the potential benefits and barriers that may be present surrounding the concept of a food hub for Nova Scotia. The key result of this research is that the potential barriers that would prevent a food hub from being a viable and sustainable business model in Nova Scotia outweigh the potential benefits it could provide for the local food economy.