Cluj-Napoca (Phase 1, Phase 2)

Odorheiu Secuiesc (Phase 2)

Starting date: January, 2017

Ending date: January 2021

Program Budget: 81,170$

Food Hub Nod Verde Budget: 265,403$

Romanian-American Foundation

Launched in 2017, the “Food Hub” program was about to become one of the most challenging initiatives for supporting Romanian local producers. The idea for the program appeared after a study visit in the USA, which took place in 2014. The Civitas team visited similar food hub organizations and later on, together with our partners, we have adapted the concept to the reality in our country.

The application form was submitted in 2017 and proposes two distinct phases coordinated by Civitas. During the first phase we have selected ten non-profit organizations capable of conceiving and implement a business plan for starting food-hub entities in their regions. These organizations have received grants worth 8.000 dollars for making the business plans and the required documentation.

During the second phase, out of the ten NGOs, five were funded with grants worth approximately 220.000 USD in order to start the food-hubs. The business models had to hold to a set of principles imposed through the program, but also to be adapted to local particularities. Therefore, two food-hubs were started by the Civitas Foundation, one by the Cluj-Napoca branch (Nod Verde), the other by the Odorheiu Secuiesc regional office (Cumsecade / Helyénvaló).

Services offered by the Civitas food-hubs

The services and resources we offer to local producers who collaborate with the food-hubs allow them to face market challenges both from a qualitative perspective (by abiding to quality norms impose by us) and also from a quantitative perspective (by efficiently aggregating similar product types). We offer the following services to local farmers: I. Operational (commercial component): collecting the products, aggregation, distribution, promotion, packaging, brokering (direct market connection). II. Support (educational component): management consultancy, technical consultancy, professional training, educative and awareness campaigns.

Nod Verde

The Cluj-Napoca food-hub concept was built for a cosmopolite market, one which is specific to a large city, undefined by geography, but by a set of common consumer values (local food, healthy food, supporting the local farmers). The established area for products collection extends on a 150 kilometers radius. We have assumed to involve at least 60 local producers in our enterprise, to support them and to build relationships based on respect and fairness between them and their clients. During the first year the team will focus on developing a distribution network directly to citizens from Cluj-Napoca. Starting from 2019 we will further develop commercial partnerships with restaurants, catering companies and hotels.

Cumsecade / Helyénvaló

The initiative aims to encourage local, healthy produce consumption and supporting at least 60 producers from Odorheiu Secuiesc area by establishing a store and a collection and aggregation center. The concept has a large community component. The food-hub is strongly connected to the network of producers involved in the Fruits Festival and built throughout the past nine years. The Civitas Foundation has started the „Helyenvalo” company. We have established a partnership with the Odorheiu Secuiesc Municipality in order to open a local products center and a store in the center of the city, where we will run most of our activity. The store furnishing started at the end of 2017.

The third food-hub was started by the Open Fields Foundation in Valea Putnei (Nord Natural), the fourth by the Center for Community Mediation and Security in Iași (Roade și Merinde) and the fifth by World Vision Romania in Criț (Merindar). During the entire period of the program, starting 2017 and up until 2021, the Civitas Foundation has assumed the role of administrator to the grants received from the funder (the Romanian-American Foundation), and also to monitor the way the five initiatives work in order to document the process and facilitate the collaboration between the organizations involved.

The project is funded by the Romanian-American Foundation and coordinated by the Civitas Foundation for Civil Society – Cluj-Napoca.