TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Senate has approved two pieces of bipartisan legislation sponsored by state Sen. Steven Oroho, R-24, that would support small businesses by establishing “food hub” opportunities for local farmers and promoting farm-to-table businesses Statewide.
The first bill, S-1953, would direct the Department of Agriculture to authorize and advise “Food Hubs,” which are businesses or organizations that actively manage the distribution and marketing of locally-made food products.
“Many small farms lack the tools to compete in a global agriculture economy,” Oroho said. “One of the main constraints on New Jersey family farms is the absence of systems that move local produce into the mainstream market. The agriculture industry must become more innovative. A ‘food hub’ is designed around a multi-farm program that allows farmers to directly reach a greater number of consumers. By creating hubs, we can ensure our farmers remain on the pathway to success.”
“Food Hubs” are a significant subgroup of the economy, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. “Food Hubs” create community food organizations which provide a combination of aggregation, distribution, and marketing services to farmers at an affordable price.
Oroho, a longtime supporter of New Jersey’s agriculture industry, also sponsors S-2499, which would direct the Division of Travel and Tourism to post information on farm-to-table restaurants on its website. S-2499 also passed the State Senate today.
The website, which is currently housed under the domain VisitNJ.org, would list the names, addresses, and other pertinent information about farm-to-table restaurants located across the Garden State.
In New Jersey, approximately one out of every 14 workers is supported by the tourism industry.
“The impact of choosing a farm-to-table restaurant stretches far beyond a consumer’s plate,” Oroho said. “By highlighting local ‘Jersey Fresh’ restaurants on our State website, we’re feeding the future of New Jersey’s farms, restaurants, and our local economy.”
— Sen. Steven Oroho