New local food initiatives unveiled

A new Bronx food hub and state produce certification program

A new food hub is slated to open in the Bronx, in conjunction with Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement of the New York State Grown & Certified Program.

The New York State Grown & Certified Program is built to encourage the sales and production of produce that are exactly as the program states – grown in New York State. This program is free to register for and is available to produce growers that are certified for Good Agricultural Practices or participating in Agricultural Environmental Management.

The program’s creators did an extensive amount of consumer research and found that 96%,of shoppers stated that they would buy food that is labeled under this program compared to those that are not, 74% of people would buy more produce, and 49% of people would even be willing to pay more, just knowing that their food is being grown sustainably and locally!

This program will provide a number of free benefits to producers, including:

  • Statewide ad campaigns aimed at restaurants, institutional buyers, and retail consumers
  • NYS Certified logo and marketing materials
  • Inclusion on the NYS Certified web page listing qualifying producers

All of these benefits are expected to result in increased demand, and of course sales.

In addition, NYS Producers will be given assistance in qualifying for certification, which is expected to increase the quality of their produce. A major end goal across the board is to promote longevity, and continued growth in the industry. The potential to include more than just fruits and vegetables will be explored after the successful first phase of the roll-out.

Coming with the start of this program is a $20 million food hub located in Hunt’s Point, Bronx.  Opening up this food hub addresses many local issues, ranging from access to local, healthy foods; food desserts; and affordability of fresh food over more processed goods.

In addition to opening the hub and access to all the NYS Grown & Certified foods, will be a spike in job creation. The new market for farmers to expand their business will open up the potential for 150 jobs during the construction period, and 95 permanent jobs upon opening. Governor Cuomo announced that: “By connecting Upstate farmers to new markets with a state-of-the-art food hub and promoting the consumption of healthy and environmentally conscious food, these initiatives will have extraordinary environmental, nutritional and economic benefits for all New Yorkers.”