The Growing for Kane Program (Ordinance No. 13-240) is the implementation mechanism by which Kane County and its partners advance the recommendations of the Growing for Kane Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The HIA report provides guidance, through recommended policy and actions, for increasing the supply of locally grown healthy foods, benefiting farmers and supporting networks that supply healthy food options.
Food Hub Project
One of the recommended actions to emerge from the HIA report was for Kane County to work with community partners to study the feasibility of locating a food hub within the county. Such an enterprise would meet the needs of local growers and food buyers, while also supporting communities with limited access to produce and other fresh foods. According to the USDA, a food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and/or marketing of source-identified agricultural products primarily from local and regional producers in order to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. In 2015, Kane County formed a Project Team to draft a Food Hub Feasibility Study, which included key staff, community partners, and lead project consultant, New Venture Advisors.
In 2016 Kane County completed the feasibility study which assessed market conditions, identified strategies to improve healthy food access and evaluated a hub’s overall financial viability. Beginning in 2017 the Project Team began working to identify a qualified operator to manage the food hub. The selected operator will also work with the Project Team’s consultant to prepare a customized and comprehensive business plan at no cost to the operator.
The Food Hub Project Team will undertake a series of actions outlined below to ensure the selection of a qualified operator and to provide the necessary resources and information to enable the future operator to be successful. Those near-term actions include conducting a Site Search Request for Information (RFI) and an Operator Request for Proposals (RFP).
Site Search Request for Information (RFI)
Kane County has compiled a list of buildings that might be suitable to house a food hub, currently anticipated to be in operation within the next few years. The Food Hub Project Team is making the list available to assist potential operators in developing their proposals. This list was generated from respondent submittals to Kane County's Site Search RFI. It is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of commercial spaces and operator candidates are welcome to consider other facilities that would best suit their needs and vision for a food hub enterprise in Kane County.
Respondents to the Site Search RFI were asked to consider a set of criteria typically required of the size and scale food hub detailed in the Project's Feasibility Study. Those criteria included but were not limited to:
- Building size: Buildings of between 4,000 and 12,000 square feet with a ceiling height of 25’+.
- Basic operation: Space uses would include cold storage, dry storage, office and processing equipment.
- Docks and parking lot: 2-3 loading docks w/ a 20’ bay. Approximately 20 parking spaces and lot area to accommodate the turning radii of a semi-truck.
At this time the Project Team is no longer accepting site submissions in response to the RFI. Follow the link below to view the list of submitted facilities and accompanying details. The site locations can also be viewed in the map below.
RFI Site List Document
Operator Request for Proposals (RFP)
Kane County is seeking to identify and select an owner / operator of a food hub that will be established in the county. Anyone and any type of team can consider responding to the Kane County Operator RFP, including farmers seeking to diversify or oversee a new line of business, current or aspiring entrepreneurs, nonprofits with an aligned mission and desire to pursue an earned income strategy, food distribution businesses with a new commitment to local – to name just a few.
Below is a timeline of key dates for the Operator RFP release and submission process.
- Wednesday, February 8, 2017: Food Hub Owner/Operator Request for Proposal Released. Potential applicants will submit a brief interest form to receive the full RFP.
- Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Deadline for questions from potential applicants. Responses to written questions will be provided as soon as possible.
- Tuesday, February 28, 2017: Approximate date for publishing the list of potential sites identified.
- Tuesday, March 21, 2017: RFP Deadline. All proposals must be received by 3PM on March 21st.
- Spring 2017: Finalists notified and sent full detail on the interview process.
- Summer 2017: Operator anticipated to be selected.
Kane County will have no long-term, formal role in the development, funding and operations of a food hub. The County’s role in overseeing the planning process will come to a close as soon as an operator is selected through the RFP. The eventual operator will sign a memorandum of understanding with the county affirming a set of commitments outlined in the RFP for both parties.
To request a copy of the Operator RFP application document please contact the Kane County Purchasing Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.