Building a Bidirectional Supply Chain for Farm to Rural Grocery to Wholesale

Principal Investigator(s):

Kathryn Draeger, Statewide Director, RSDP, UM Extension


Project summary:

The University of Minnesota Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) will lead this Integrated Research and Extension project to address the Small and Medium-Sized Farms Priority area. The project involves stakeholders from across the food supply chain, including producers, grocers, wholesalers, regulators, and University of Minnesota research and Extension. This project develops and pilots the feasibility of a new model for small- and medium-sized crop producers to access wholesale markets. The Farm to Rural Grocery to Wholesale (F2G2W) model leverages the existing network of rural grocery stores and their wholesale suppliers to "backhaul" locally grown produce on emptied wholesale trucks for redistribution through wholesale markets. Backhaul, in this context, is the practice of using the return trip of a delivery truck to carry goods back to the wholesale distribution center. The long-term goal of the project is for small and medium-sized farms to increase their viability, competitiveness, and sustainability through access to profitable wholesale markets via the existing network of rural grocery stores and wholesale suppliers. The next step in the progression of opening wholesale markets to small and medium-sized farms is to research and build an efficient, integrated supply chain system for the F2G2W bidirectional distribution model and disseminate findings based on research results to producers and grocers.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2021055
  • Start date: 01/2021
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Planning and Economy