New Jersey’s small and mid-sized farmers who produce food primarily sell directly to consumers through farm stands, CSAs and farmers’ markets. But selling to consumers only goes so far. Selling through an intermediary, such as an aggregator/distributor (aka food hub), can open up significant opportunities for farms and can encourage more local-food farming in our region, leading to a higher level of resilience overall for our communities.

The Foodshed Alliance has completed a feasibility study for a northern New Jersey food hub, funded through grants from the USDA Rural Business Development Grant and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The study, which is available here, concluded that a food hub that aggregates and distributes farm food could help strengthen the farm industry in New Jersey by giving farmers easy access to institutional buyers to fill the need for locally grown, fresh healthy food.

The Foodshed Alliance is in the process of establishing a work group of stakeholders from throughout the state, including government leaders, the New Jersey Farm Bureau and other ag groups, food distributors, institutional buyers and more to determine next steps for establishing a food hub.

Among the top challenges for the group will be finding a lead organization to run the hub and securing start-up funding.