By Sarah Breitenbach
In New York City, where shoppers and diners can find delicacies from all over the world, there is hefty demand for food grown closer to home.
The taste for products from farms in the Northeast has led South Bronx-based Greenmarket Co., a nonprofit regional food distributor that serves as the middleman between farmers and buyers, to constantly expand the size and scope of its operation over the last half-decade.
The state of New York has taken notice of its role in the regional food supply chain and in August allocated $15 million of the $20 million needed to build Greenmarket’s new 20,000-square-foot distribution center, commonly known as a food hub.
The hub’s staff, which is raising the remaining money from other public and private funders, expects to move in by 2019 and eventually sell $18 million worth of produce, grains, eggs, maple syrup and honey a year.
Like New York, other states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Vermont, and the federal government are investing in food hubs as a way to connect small and midsize farmers, who may not have the volume or do not have the capacity to work with large food wholesalers, with businesses and consumers to increase sales. [Read more…]