Document Type

Honors Thesis


Ecology and Environmental Science, English


Heather Falconer

Committee Members

Melissa Ladenheim, Susanne Lee, Rachel Schattman

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Lewiston/Auburn Community Market’s business model is to provide a no-to-low- cost grocery store, shared commercial kitchen space, and rentable cold storage for residents of Lewiston/Auburn. After reviewing their business plan and speaking with a representative, I identified two challenges that the LACM may face—building community infrastructure around their program and effective communication. I chose to focus my research on coordinating local farmers, a key piece of local infrastructure, through my research question—What best practices can be utilized to build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships between the Lewiston/Auburn Community Market and local farmers within the greater Lewiston/Auburn area? To determine the best practices that LACM can use to develop these relationships, I conducted a structured literature review, used contextual data from the LACM’s feasibility study, and included local resources that I gained from my internship with Food Rescue MAINE. My sources revealed that there are several different types of food hubs with different goals, that farmers have many different motivations for working with food hubs, and the barriers to forming these partnerships. I discovered recommendations for establishing proper scale and managing logistic issues. I read studies related to sustainability and found recommendations for communication; and how food hubs can address local social, economic, and environmental issues. I narrowed all the themes down into the following five subcategories: food hubs and motivation for stakeholders, logistics and scale, economics, social and communication, and environmental. The research I conducted was synthesized into best practices for the LACM’s relationships with farmers and organized into a user-friendly best practice guide for their use.