Food Hub: BRWIA and Watauga Extension to Open Storage Space for Locally-Grown Food

Published Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the Watauga County Cooperative Extension are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the High Country Food Hub! Located at 252 Poplar Grove Rd. in Boone, the Food Hub is a central storage facility for locally-grown food.

“The Food Hub will open new markets for our community’s farmers and serve as a collection site for vegetables grown in community gardens, before they are distributed at local food banks,” said Carol Coulter, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.

This project is a testament to our community’s collaborations around local food. “Many farmers are getting into selling meat direct to market,” Coulter said, “and oftentimes, they don’t have the storage available on their farms to take several beef for processing at once.” As farmers shared their challenges, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the Watauga County Cooperative Extension began to search for a solution. In February, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners approved 1,400 square feet of the Watauga County Agricultural Services Center to be transformed into freezers, refrigerators and dry food storage space. After securing a location, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture found financial support from Heifer USA and the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program to renovate the space and buy a commercial freezer and cooler.

“Having the Food Hub located in the Agricultural Services Center is extremely convenient and cost-effective for our area farmers,” said Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Extension Director. “The Ag Center is now providing more than just educational programming, we have shared-use equipment that farmers can rent for a nominal fee and cold storage space to allow producers easy access to our local markets.”

The Food Hub became a bipartisan county and town supported project in September when the Town of Boone approved funding for an additional freezer. The demand for food storage space from farmers, gardeners, and area food banks prompted the request, and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is delighted to be able to offer even more resources for our farmers, gardeners, and area food banks in the near future.

The Grand Opening of the High Country Food Hub will feature a ribbon cutting, locally-sourced food, and contact tables of local agencies that are currently or may in the future utilize the Food Hub. The event is open to the public, and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and the Cooperative Extension encourage the community to come out and celebrate the official opening of this important space with us!

Grand Opening Details

Location: 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone, NC 28607

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 4th from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Ribbon Cutting: 10:30 AM

More Information: by calling (828) 386-1537

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture currently serves:Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga, and Yancey Counties in North Carolina as well as Johnson County, Tennessee.

For more information about the Grand Opening or the Food Hub, please contact Carol Coulter at carol@brwia.org or (828) 386-1537.

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