Food Hubs Try to Grow Local Farms

Driving the local food movement, food hubs are the newest distribution centers to bring locally-grown food to restaurants and grocery stores.

| July 19, 2013

Food hub owners

Marty Travis, right, started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will, left, helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.

Courtesy of Harvest Public Media

Reposted with permission from Harvest Public Media.

Restaurants across the country have jumped on the local food bandwagon. They’re trying to source more of their produce from nearby farms, but it's not easy. Enter: Food hubs.

Food hubs are popping up across the country. These food processing and distribution centers make it easier for restaurants, grocery stores and others to buy local food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are more than 220 of them in 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

Food hubs connect producers to consumers. They're not only helping struggling farms, but also bringing in new talent to agriculture.

Donna O’Shaughnessy and her husband, Keith Parrish, are first-generation farmers in rural Chatsworth, Ill., about two hours south of Chicago. They sell dairy and meat, and raise a host of animals, including cows, about 50 red waddle hogs, and a few colorful peacocks.

“Because we’re certified organic, we cannot use any herbicides or pesticides,” she explained. “Peacocks love ticks. They eat lots and lots of ticks.”

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