Spearfish Local Aims To Grow Business

Oct 14, 2015

A Black Hills State University student volunteer helps harvest tomatoes out of the campus garden. Spearfish Local, is a BHSU initiative that brings together local producers, distributors, purchasers and consumers of local food while engaging BHSU students in the process.
Credit BHSU

A program through Black Hills State University has landed $100 thousand dollar USDA grant to put more local food on the menu in Spearfish.  

The grant helps build a new business that can move fresh local fruits and vegetables from farmers to cafeterias at nearby schools, hospitals, and other facilities.

If you run a cafeteria, in say a grade school or even a nursing home it helps if you can place large orders of lots of types of food.    Lining up individual local farmers for delivery of each type of produce grown nearby isn’t really an efficient option.   That’s where someone like Katie Greer comes in.

“So what we’re hoping to serve as is a one point of contact a local food hub where they can call us and we will source the local food for them and also deliver it,” says Greer, the Assistant Director of Facility Services at BHSU.  

Greer says this idea can also help local farmers.

“We’re hoping to get contracts in place so that farmers can feel confident that when they plant a certain number of tomatoes, or what have you, that they actually have a buyer for those,” Greer says.    

Greer says the food hub called Spearfish Local won’t just grow more produce, she wants to see this project grow into a new business.

“The grant that we received from the USDA will incubate the program and then we’ll be developing a business plan based on our first year that will figure out how we can make this a self-sustaining business in the future,” says Greer.

The program involves students from Black Hills State University.   Greer says increasing the market for locally grown produce helps both the Black Hills economy and the overall environment.