News

Once a niche, local foods becoming big business

Once a niche, local foods becoming big business

FARM FRESH:A growing network of companies and organizations is delivering food directly from local farms to institutions like hospitals and schools, eliminating middlemen from farm to fork. Photo: Associated Press

MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Locally grown foods aren’t just for farmers markets anymore.

A growing network of companies and organizations is delivering food directly from local farms to institutions like hospitals and schools, eliminating middlemen from farm to fork. They’re increasing profits for smaller farms and bringing consumers healthier foods.

These so-called food hubs have helped transform locally grown foods into a bigger business with more than $25 million in federal aid.

The model is simple. The organizations pick up food from regional farmers and take it directly to city customers, along with detailed information about where it was grown or produced.

Since 2009, the Agriculture Department has upped its commitment to small farms and locally grown food.

It’s a cultural transformation for the agency, which has long been focused on the biggest farms.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Member of Jesse White Tumblers Shot

Murdered Chicago teen a member of Jesse White Tumblers.

in Local

Durbin Weighs In on Senate Proposal to Revoke NFL Non-Profit Status

dickdurbin1

Dick Durbin says he's still deciding on the U.S. Senate proposal that would revoke the NFL's non-profit designation.

in Local

Rauner Tells GOP Not to Expect Favors if He is Elected

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner says he won't offer any patronage jobs to GOP members if he wins.

in Local

Illinois Awards $25.8M in Health Outreach Grants

Health

Most of the same Illinois organizations that helped consumers sign up for insurance in the first year of the Affordable Care Act will receive additional funding for a second year.

in Local

Quinn: No Point in Plan B for Pension Overhaul

pension

Amid signals that Illinois' pension overhaul could be found unconstitutional, Gov. Pat Quinn argued Friday that it makes no sense to develop a contingency plan.