WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $333,400 to Oberlin Food Hub, Inc. The funds will be used to increase regional production planning through continued growth of the hub network in Northeast Ohio, provide a stronger dataset to better match supply, demand and soil types, strengthen the viability of family and start-up farms through increased access to reliable and well-curated markets, and increase understanding and awareness of seasonal eating with local buyers.
“We should support farmers from across Northeast Ohio, helping them grow their bottom lines and sell more products here at home,” said Brown. “Not only does this provide critical access to healthy, local fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods, it also helps family farmers to develop important local markets and expand business opportunities.”
These funds are a part of the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), which works to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises and develop new market opportunities for farm operations serving local markets. Brown helped secure these funds as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and is fighting to include similar investments in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Brown was able to secure his Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act in the Senate Farm Bill, which passed the Senate with 86 votes in June. His bill, the FARMS Act, would provide permanent funding to help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies. Brown is working to include his FARMS Act as a conferee on the Farm Bill Conference Committee.