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

1 hour ago in Local

Bomb Threat Unfounded at Butler Elementary School

Fresh
Butler Elementary School

Butler Elementary School is back to normal after a bomb threat caused it to be evacuated for a short time Wednesday.

2 hours ago in Local

AP NewsBreak: Rauner Board Asked Builders to Lobby Lawmakers

Fresh
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.

Good-government advocates are criticizing the head of an agency managing state construction projects for asking builders to lobby lawmakers to restore funding.

2 hours ago in Local

House Fails to Override Labor Arbitration Veto

Fresh
5-18-16 Rally 1

The labor arbitration bill remains dead.

3 hours ago in Local

Another Leaders Meeting, Optimism Dissolving

capitol_north

The last days of session are a flurry of activity, if not progress.

3 hours ago in Local

Lawmakers Discuss Gun Ownership and Mental Health

Updated
gun

Illinois lawmakers have approved a measure designed to prevent people with mental disabilities from owning guns.