Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Serrano Leads NY Congressional Delegation in Support of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Food Hub Proposal

Nov 3, 2016
Press Release
Full Funding for Hunts Point Expansion Would Grow Food Hub Operations, Support Local Farmers, and Provide Greater Access to Healthy Foods

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman José E. Serrano, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and a bipartisan coalition of members of the New York Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Jay Williams—the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce —in  support of full funding for GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Food Hub grant proposal for their Hunts Point location.

This federal funding would, in combination with previous support from New York State, allow GrowNYC to move its operation into an expanded, state-of-the-art facility, and enable the Food Hub to move roughly 20 million pounds of fresh local produce per year. More importantly, the expansion will increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Bronxites, and provide more jobs for Bronx residents- including 150 construction jobs and 95 permanent living wage jobs.  The Food Hub currently operates in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx as a wholesale marketplace for 41 small- and medium-sized producers from seven states- New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Florida.

“I strongly support GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Food Hub proposal, as it would allow the Food Hub to expand its operations to help local farmers, provide families with access to healthy food, and bring permanent living wage jobs to the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx,” said Congressman Serrano. “By increasing access to fresh and healthy produce, the Greenmarket Regional Food Hub will help improve the health and quality of life for Bronx residents, while expanding jobs and economic opportunities in our borough.”

The full text of the letter, including signatories, is below:

Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary of Commerce

Economic Development Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20230

Dear Assistant Secretary Williams:

As representatives from the state of New York, we strongly support the full funding of GrowNYC’s proposal for the Greenmarket Regional Food Hub, in the Bronx, NY, from the Public Works program. 

The primary purpose of the Public Works program is to help distressed communities revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure. The Greenmarket Regional Food Hub project fulfills that purpose and more. Located in one of our country’s most poverty stricken areas, the Greenmarket Regional Food Hub project will increase access to fresh healthy food and increase market access for small and medium farmers in our nation’s largest population center – a win-win for consumers and producers. Additionally, the Food Hub will create 95 permanent living wage jobs and 150 construction jobs.

Currently, the Food Hub operates in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx as a 5,000 square foot (SF) wholesale marketplace for small and medium sized producers. The Food Hub has 41 producers selling products within its marketplace from seven states – including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and Florida. Annually, the Food Hub moves three million pounds of food to restaurants, retailers, senior centers, nonprofits, and community farmer’s markets.

A fully funded proposal will allow GrowNYC to move its operation to an expanded, state of the art facility in the South Bronx. The new 75,000 SF building will include 60,000 SF of food aggregation and distribution space, including cold storage units, U.S. Department of Agriculture compliant processing space, and 15,000 SF of offices and operational areas. The remaining 45,000 SF of the lot will be devoted to the wholesale farmers’ market. In total, the expanded Food Hub will move roughly 20 million pounds of local produce a year when at full capacity. New York State has already committed $15 million to the project and $3 million has been secured from private sources. Funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) represents the last piece of the necessary financing. The facility will create a permanent home for Greenmarket Co., GrowNYC’s existing local food distribution program, as well as provide crucial infrastructure for local farmers and food producers.

When completed, the Food Hub will serve two critical functions.  First, it will provide small and mid-sized farmers access to New York City’s vast wholesale marketplace, and by doing so, keep hundreds of farmers farming and preserve thousands of acres of farmland. Second, and equally important, it will allow GrowNYC to dramatically expand the amount and variety of produce it provides to community partners and distribute via GrowNYC’s food access programs like Youthmarket and the Fresh Food Box in the Bronx and elsewhere. 

This proposal is a win for underserved neighborhoods and it is a win for our hardworking farmers looking to expand their business in one of our country’s largest markets. We hope that EDA will give GrowNYC’s proposal your full consideration. 

Sincerely,

José E. Serrano

Nydia M. Velázquez

Gregory W. Meeks

Joseph Crowley

Grace Meng

Carolyn B. Maloney

Yvette D. Clarke

Charles B. Rangel

Eliot L. Engel

Sean Patrick Maloney

Charles E. Schumer

Kirsten Gillibrand

Jerrold Nadler

Hakeem S. Jeffries

Paul Tonko

Brian Higgins

Chris Gibson

Steve Israel

Elise M. Stefanik

Tom Reed

Lee M. Zeldin

John Katko

Kathleen M. Rice

Louise McIntosh Slaughter

Peter T. King

Richard Hanna

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Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.