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 Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

rainman

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Local Sports

Royals shut down Mariners

Seattle Mariners' Nelson Cruz gets ready to bat during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Peoria, Ariz.

Kansas City's Ventura holds Seattle to one-hit game in 5-1 victory

in Sports

Louisville and Michigan State on to Elite 8

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino gestrues to his team during the second half of an NCAA tournament college basketball game against UC Irvine in the Round of 64 in Seattle, Friday, March 20, 2015. Louisville beat UC Irvine 57-55.

Montrezl Harrell scored 24 points/Denzel Valentine scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half

in Sports

Gonzaga and Duke headed to Elite Eight

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few watches during a practice session for a college basketball regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Houston. Gonzaga plays UCLA on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Przemek Karnowski had 18 points and nine rebounds/Justise Winslow 21 points and 10 rebound