Erie County considering local food hub

Jul 16, 2013

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the area can move forward with planning for an advanced manufacturing center and help local farmers. The county is looking at the creation of a local food hub.

Credit WBFO News file photo

Poloncarz tells WBFO News the county is moving forward with a series of plans to help preserve local farming and agriculture because it's a significant part of the economy. That includes plans for a study on creating a county food hub to connect farmers and customers and perhaps offer storage or processing of food.

The study would be paid for in next year's budget. Poloncarz said  farmers need some help because it has become a high.

Agricultural sales in the county total around $117-million  annually. 

Poloncarz said people may notice more about this because the county is looking at putting some kind of grown in Erie County sticker on food.

Poloncarz said that's why the county is looking at a study on building a local food hub.

"It's just taking and recognizing that this is an important part of our county. And, it's been neglected from the view of policy makers in the past. You think about the local economy for so many years, it was based on heavy industry, steel and auto which isn't there any more. It's not that the agricultural industry didn't exist, it did. It just was neglect," said Poloncarz.

The money for the hub study would be in next year's budget.

Poloncarz noted local farmers can't agree on what is needed and that's why the study is important.  He's hoping if a plan is picked and a site chosen, there would be an agri-business park for businesses to work with farming adjacent to the hub.