This week the governor signed legislation establishing food hubs to strengthen small-scale New Jersey farms, according to bill sponsors Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths.
Food hubs help connect food producers to new markets and services. Selling through a food hub can supplement revenue for small to mid-sized farmers by aggregating their product for sale through wholesale channels that those independent farmers otherwise might not be able to access.
“Many small and mid-size farms struggle to turn a profit,” said Space (R-Sussex). “Hubs can help reduce costs with more efficient sourcing, and maximize revenue with superior marketing and branding. They help local farms expand their market by pooling agriculture products in a volume that meets the demands of large institutional buyers.”
The USDA has a directory of more than 200 food hubs across the United States, including in New York and Pennsylvania.
“Food hubs offer unlimited opportunity to small producers who struggle to sustain any profitability,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “For farmers who can’t bake and sell food in New Jersey without access to a costly commercial facility, the hub provides a path to profits. We’re protecting our state’s farm families with easy access to broader markets.”
The bill directs the Department of Agriculture to authorize hubs, and assist farmers to join.
The bill passed the Assembly unanimously in December. Sen. Steve Oroho sponsors the bill in the Senate, where it passed unanimously in October.