The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will be awarding $112,500 through the Local Food Hub Startup and Development Fund to one or more eligible applicants. This grant is the result of a one-time 2021 legislative appropriation (SB 3, Line 2005, Item 256, Senator Gene Davis) and is intended to provide seed funding towards the development of a food hub that connects farm fresh food to consumers along the Wasatch Front.
Food hubs are innovative distribution centers that act as aggregators for small to medium-sized producers and provide wholesale, retail, and institutional market opportunities including schools, hotels, and restaurants that would otherwise be inaccessible to those producers. Food hubs may also provide minimal processing, e.g. for produce deemed too cosmetically imperfect for retail sales, creating new revenue streams for farmers.
Eligible applicants must be one of the following:
- A Utah based for-profit business
- A Utah based non-profit organization with existing 501c3 status
- A Utah farmer or group of farmers
- A Utah rancher or group of ranchers
- An agricultural industry group
- An agricultural marketing entity
Examples of how funding may be used include, but are not limited to: cooler and freezer space, manufacturing and packaging equipment, etc.
“Utah is one of just five states that lack a centralized food hub distribution system. As we discovered during the last year, it’s incredibly important to strengthen our local food systems to keep the food produced in Utah connected with all Utah consumers.” — Commissioner Craig Buttars.
“We thank the legislature and the Local Food Advisory Council for their recognition of this need and their efforts in educating the public about the importance of food hubs for Utah farmers, ranchers, processors, and consumers statewide.” — Linda Clark Gillmor, Director of Marketing and Economic Development.
Find additional information, including a sample application, at https://ag.utah.gov/foodhubgrant. The application window will be open July 1 – August 27, 2021.