Still, Solana says grocery stores are attempting to sustain that sort of locally grown offering for consumers.
“It’s very much a big topic of conversation with the chain stores. They’re trying to work toward direct store delivery to facilitate locally grown produce within North Carolina, or any state.”
To deal with transportation challenges, Eubanks says local food hubs are a good solution.
“They act as a facilitator to handle the logistics of distribution,” he said.
In South Carolina, the food hub near Charleston helps distribute local produce directly to restaurants, taking over a task that just isn’t economical for smaller farms to handle on their own.
This allows South Carolina’s Fresh on the Menu campaign to continue to grow. The program encourages restaurants to agree to use 25% or more local ingredients on their menus.
“These local farms have to make a profit so growers may not be able to deliver produce directly. Food hubs help that, and I think we’ll see more develop as these locally grown efforts continue to grow,” Eubanks said.