New York State Regional Food Hub

What is the New York State Regional Food Hub?

The New York State Regional Food Hub (The Hub) is a 60,000-square-foot cold-storage facilitybuilt to the highest standard of food safety, on a 135,000-square-foot lot in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx. It will dramatically increase GrowNYC's capacity to benefit local farmers and underserved New Yorkers. 

Why is The Hub needed?

Our food system is broken, the result of which is 1.4 million food insecure NYC residents and a regional agriculture system that loses a farm every three days. Although farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer retail models are thriving, there is tremendous unmet demand – estimated at more than $860,000,000 – for local food among wholesale buyers in NYC. 

Regional farmers are constrained in their ability to physically reach wholesale buyers in NYC. At the same time, historically underserved neighborhoods in NYC – typically those that are home to low-income families and people of color – are continually overlooked by broadline distributors and have fewer access points for healthy food. This, in addition to rampant unemployment and poverty, has led to disproportionately high rates of diet-related disease and other poor health outcomes in these neighborhoods. 

How will The Hub affect this unmet demand for local food and the disparity in food access throughout New York City?

When completed, the Hub will allow GrowNYC to substantially increase the amount of produce it delivers to the neighborhoods that need it most – and most importantly at prices residents can afford. GrowNYC accomplishes this goal by purchasing locally grown farm products and delivering them to our institutional partners, including food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, public daycare centers, public and charter schools, farm stands operated by our community partners, etc.  

In addition, the facility will allow us to continue to operate and dramatically expand our food access initiatives, which include GrowNYC Farmstand sites across New York City, as well as our emergency food work like the Emergency Fresh Food Box program. This program was implemented in March of 2020 to provide no-cost emergency fresh food to communities throughout New York City hardest hit by Covid. Through this program, GrowNYC Wholesale works in collaboration with community partner organizations to distribute 4,000 emergency food box shares every week, each with food for between six to eight meals. By the end of 2020, we had distributed more than 1 million meals.  

How much will it cost to build The Hub?

Approximately $39 million

Who is funding the Hub?

Economic Development Administration

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin

Empire State Development

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYC Economic Development Corporation

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr.

Bank of America

Green Mountain Energy/Sun Club

Does this project involve any New Market Tax Credits?

Roughly $30 million in New Market Tax Credits, the largest amount ever allocated to a New York City project, has been invested in the New York State Regional Food Hub by NYC EDC, NYC NCC, & JP Morgan Chase

Who are GrowNYC's partners that will benefit from The Hub?

GrowNYC partners with multiple city agencies such as the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, DSNY, DOHMH and the Parks Department to assist them in their mission of increasing access to fresh, healthy food particularly in low-income communities. The expansion of our warehouse capacity is key to meeting these goals and will allow us, when fully operational, to dramatically increase our distribution of fresh, healthy produce to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers a year. 

Notable community partners include Children's Aid, Urban Health Plan, The POINT, Community Access, Lantern Community Services, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Phoenix Community Garden, Rockaway Youth Task Force, Red Hook Initiative, West Side Campaign Against Hunter, St. John's Bread and Life, the Department of School Food's Garden to Café program, and dozens of others. 

How many pounds of food will be distributed through The Hub?

In the new facility, we will be able to distribute 20 million pounds a year.

How does this differ from GrowNYC's current wholesale distribution?

We were distributing 2 million pounds a year before COVID, and we did 5.4 million pounds in 2020, 2.9 million of which was through our Emergency Fresh Food Box program.

How many farmers will be support through the Hub?

Currently, about 60 farmers in the Northeast sell through GrowNYC Wholesale, and we expect this number to increase to more than 150 regional farmers when the Hub is at capacity.

How long will it take to build The Hub?

The project is expected to take about 18 months from groundbreaking to completion.

Are there Minority- and Women- Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) goals for the project?

More than 25%

Are there any 'green' features included in the design of the building?

Photovoltaic Solar Panels on the roof

Vegetative living green roof for added insulation and water retention

Living Green wall exterior façade

LED lighting

Natural Daylight harvesting

Electric charging stations

Bio Digester for vegetable waste to water

Enhanced insulation for building envelope

High efficiency MEP systems

Low VOC finishes

Solar shading

Rainwater harvesting

Reduced building water usage

How many jobs will be created though the Hub?

We project that the Hub will support about 79 full time jobs, as well as 40 temporary construction jobs. These figures do not reflect jobs created by increased food access programming expected to follow. 

How will the Hub impact the Hunts Point area?

GrowNYC works with Hunts Point partners such as Urban Health Plan, Graham Windham, and the POINT to make fresh, healthy foods available through low- and no-cost distribution programs. The Hub will create efficiencies that will allow us to increase our product offerings while capturing savings that allow us to offer more variety to our current partners, decrease costs, reach new partners, etc.

Who designed the Hub, and who will build it? 

bld architecture, dpc, an established leader of professional design services in the New York region with offices in Suffolk County and Brooklyn. Alex Badalamenti, AIA is the firm’s President and CEO.

The Hub will be built by Aurora Contractors, Inc., a second-generation, family owned and operated construction company.

The report highlights GrowNYC’s work to provide New Yorkers with solutions and opportunities to live a more sustainable life and accelerate climate action.