The Hub, a 60,000-square-foot cold-storage facility on a 135,000-square-foot lot in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, will expand GrowNYC’s wholesale distribution infrastructure that makes local foods accessible to underserved New Yorkers.
The new food hub will work with a range of small and midsized farms to provide unprecedented access to New York City’s wholesale marketplace. The processing facility also will assist upstate producers and processors in targeting institutional and private sector procurement opportunities.
This first-of-its-kind, publicly funded food hub dedicated to supporting regional farmers will serve as a model throughout the country.
A formal groundbreaking for the facility was recently held that included state and local government officials. The $39 million project received funding from the state of New York, Empire State Development, the New York City Economic Development Corp., the New York City Council, Office of the Bronx Borough President, New Markets Tax Credit Financing from NYC Neighborhood Capital Corp., and J.P Morgan Chase Community Development Banking.
Additional funding came from the Federal Economic Development Administration, Bank of America Foundation and Green Mountain Energy, and bridge financing from Farm Credit East, Low Income Investment Fund and Enterprise Community Partners.
It will take 18 months for the project to be completed.
Before the COVID-19 health crisis, 1.4 million New York City residents were food insecure. Because of the pandemic, that number has jumped to about 2 million people.
In 2020, GrowNYC’s wholesale division distributed 5.4 million pounds of fresh produce, 2.9 million of which was through the Emergency Fresh Food program implemented in March 2020 to provide no-cost fresh food to communities throughout New York City hardest hit by the pandemic.
The Hub will allow GrowNYC to increase the amount of food they distribute to 20 million pounds.
The New York State-New York City Regional Food Hubs Task Force, convened at the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was announced at the state’s first Upstate-Downstate Summit.
The task force was charged with developing a road map to build a regional food hub system to enhance the connection between upstate farmers and the downstate market, increase access to fresh food for underserved populations, boost in-state food production and consumption, and create new job opportunities in the growing sector of food manufacturing.
“I am so pleased to join this groundbreaking ceremony and help to celebrate the New York State Regional Food Hub with all our partners who have worked so hard to make the food hub a reality. This critical infrastructure project came to fruition thanks to the vision and insight of the New York State-New York City Food Hubs Task Force, which was a result of the state’s Upstate-Downstate Summit,” said Richard Ball, ag secretary.
“The New York State Regional Food Hub is an incredible opportunity to connect our upstate farmers with the downstate marketplace, growing their business while increasing food access to underserved New Yorkers. The Food Hub, when complete, will be a game changer for New York agriculture.”