Yesterday Governor Andrew Cuomo served up plans for a food safety program and a new $20 million Greenmarket Regional Food Hub in Hunts Point, the Bronx.
The program, New York State Grown & Certified, is a response to spurious “organic” and “natural” food labelling that does more to market food than show the conditions under which it was produced. New York State Grown & Certified will tout farmers who meet state standards for sustainability and food safety, promoting their foodstuffs by brokering relationships between certified farmers and buyers like the city’s Department of Education.
“You go into a store now, everything has marketing on it that suggests that it is natural or that it is healthy,” Cuomo told DNAinfo. “Cage-Free Eggs. Chickens That Roam the Landscape Eggs. Chickens That Have Never Seen a Cage, Happy Chicken Eggs.”
The state will put $15 million towards the total cost of the 120,000-square-foot food hub, which will include processing facilities and a farmer’s market. The state estimates that the project will create 95 permanent jobs and support more than 100 New York State Grown & Certified participants.
Empire State Development president, CEO & commissioner Howard Zemsky outlined the benefits of the hub in a press release: “The new Greenmarket Regional Food Hub will not only increase access to fresh, healthy foods in NYC’s underserved neighborhoods, it will create new jobs and provide a great opportunity for our hardworking farmers to distribute local produce and expand their businesses throughout New York State.”
While Hunts Point Cooperative Market has always been the center of the region’s food distribution system, food is becoming a driver of economic development in the surrounding neighborhoods. Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners announced plans for Bruckner Market, a food hall and beer garden, last month.
There are no renderings of the project available at this time.