Retailers and restaurants are expanding ways to connect with local producers. Food hubs, retail-producer arrangements and retail rooftop gardens are parts of the strategies being employed.


Feb. 13

Georgia promotes local through program linking growers, chefs

By Doug Ohlemeier, Eastern Editor

Trying to bring growers and chefs together, Georgia is launching an executive chef campaign featuring the state’s Georgia Grown program.

10. Locally grown keeps risingWorking with the Georgia Restaurant Association, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Atlanta, is promoting relationships between chefs and growers by offering chefs a “mark of honor and distinction” while increasing awareness for restaurateurs and consumers about the availability of local Georgia products.


March 5

Food hubs link local growers, sellers

By Tara Schupner, Copy Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When it comes to finding locally grown produce, don’t automatically head to the farmers market.

In fact, many local growers would rather focus on wholesale and are banding together in co-ops, or “food hubs,” to give them more marketing muscle.


March 5

Ontario website links buyers, sellers

By Cynthia David, Special to The Packer

Anyone looking to buy 5 bushels of Ontario-grown purple carrots can now find a seller easily on the website.

“Buyers told us that their customers are demanding local, but it’s time-consuming to find growers who meet their need when they have to research them one by one,” said Megan Hunter, communications manager for the provincially funded Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

The site allows buyers to learn about a grower at a glance, including details of the products available, farm practices, size, insurance, food safety and traceability.


March 12

Local food advocates request more help

By Tom Karst, National Editor

With some people questioning whether the booming local food movement needs federal help, advocates of the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act made their case for more attention at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for the United Fresh Produce Association, said he thinks local food provisions will be a part of the farm bill. How big of an element they will be is the question, he said.

“(Local food) is proliferating in the marketplace. ... Does the government need to be coming in and giving further incentives (for) what the market place is actively engaged in?” Guenther said.


April 23

Farm to School grants open for proposals

By Tom Karst, National Editor

Demand is expected to outpace supply for $3.5 million in the Farm to School Grant Program to be awarded this fall.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said the USDA will be accepting letters of intent through mid-May and grant proposals by June 15. “We will learn a lot from these applications and get a better sense of the magnitude of interest,” Merrigan said.

The grants, capped at $100,000 per award, will be awarded by this fall.

“Farm to school is pitch perfect on so many different levels,” Merrigan said in an April 17 press conference. “It allows kids to learn more about where their food comes from and who produces that food.”


April 30

Downtown New Orleans likes Rouses’ local focus

By Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

NEW ORLEANS — When Rouses Enterprises LLC designed its new downtown store, the Thibodaux, La.-based company highlighted its relationship with local growers.

Photos of the growers the company regularly sources from are displayed prominently in the produce department. ...

Rouses has expanded its local produce programs significantly over the past few years, including working with local hydroponic growers to source unique crops not normally cultivated in Louisiana.


May 21

Kroger goes local with Jackson Farming fruit

By Coral Beach, Staff Writer

A partnership between the Kroger Co. and Jackson Farming Co., Autryvile, N.C., will mean locally grown strawberries and melons this season at 16 supermarkets in the Raleigh-Durham area known as the Triangle.


June 4

Retailers go more local with rooftop greenhouses

By Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

The first of several supermarket greenhouse projects by BrightFarms Inc. is expected to bear fruit later this fall, and the New York-based company has several more in the works.

In early May, BrightFarms, which designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic greenhouses, announced its second produce purchase agreement with Oklahoma City-based Homeland Stores.

The company’s first supermarket greenhouse, built for Langhorne, Pa.-based McCaffrey’s Markets, is expected to open in October, said Paul Lightfoot, chief executive officer of BrightFarms.


June 25

Kings’ local program promises timely delivery

By Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

Kings Food Markets promises consumers a fresh experience with its Local Fresh 24/7 program.

The program features displays of local produce within 24 hours of harvest. It started May 23 with a pilot and expanded in early June to the Parsippany, N.J.-based retailer’s 24 locations, said Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce and floral. Kneeland said the program will be available through Labor Day.


June 25

Greenhouse company signs with retailer A&P

By Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

New York-based greenhouse firm BrightFarms Inc. added a third retailer to its roster. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. Inc., Montvale, N.J., entered a long-term agreement to purchase produce from a BrightFarms rooftop farm in Brooklyn. A groundbreaking is scheduled in September for a multiacre greenhouse on 100,000 square feet of rooftop space, with the opening of the greenhouse scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.


June 25

Metro stores connect consumers with growers

By Cynthia David, Special to The Packer

Montreal-based Metro Richelieu Inc. has joined the eco-minded group Equiterre to bring community-aupported agriculture to three Metro stores this summer.

Through November, Metro store parking lots in the cities of Granby, Quebec, Joliette, Quebec, and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, will serve as weekly dropoff points for baskets of organic vegetables pre-ordered by consumers from local farms.


July 23

Homegrown crops fizzle, stoking lettuce demand

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

SALINAS, Calif. — Increasingly, East Coast buyers are turning to California for their summer lettuce needs as homegrown deals take a beating from the weather.

Storms in Quebec plus high heat in the Ohio Valley and across the U.S. have taken a toll on local leafy greens, especially romaine. That spiked prices in the second week of July.


Nov. 19

Project targets small growers

By Coral Beach, Staff Writer

A three-pronged program to help small growers meet food safety requirements is in the works at PrimusLabs, with a March rollout planned. ...

PrimusLabs is developing the Small Scale Local Farm Food Safety Program. Garrison said the program is designed with the locally grown movement in mind and will target growers with 100 acres or less who sell directly to local chefs, school districts, retailers and foodservice customers.