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Another idea for locating the food hub

By Jody Tedaldi
April 30, 2014

In Sullivan County, where agriculture is considered one of our primary economies, why not teach it here?

In my opinion, Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) is the perfect fit for the food hub. It is centrally located to both Sullivan farms and Ulster County Route 209. The college can create a curriculum that supports farming with an associate’s degree program to keep some of our local, younger community from leaving. In creating learning classes for the farmers—in planting, maintaining and harvesting crops, in packaging and food hub distribution and trucking—future employment can be supplied. Business classes, like accounting and management classes, can be taken. The program can possibly be articulated to upstate colleges to finish a bachelor’s degree, if one desires.

The food coming through the food hub could be purchased by the vendor at the college, which supplies meals to students and faculty, and to the great culinary program (40 years and still strong) that has been a stepping stone for so many past and future chefs around the country. In addition, there’s the red meat plant that has broken ground in Liberty, NY, without a vendor; one might consider SCCC to take the lead there also and create a meat butchering and business curriculum around that, too.

The food hub grant monies of $850,000, plus or minus, are for the Wawarsing/Sullivan REAP zone, to benefit both areas. The legislators are still waiting for the blueprints—plans that show the proposed size of the facility that has been approved by the Town of Fallsburg. Town supervisor Steve Vigliante is also the acting attorney for The Wild Turnpike Industrial Park, LLC.

Here is part of the proposed resolution authorizing the county manager to execute documents to provide funding to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for a Food Distribution Hub Network,

“Whereas, 300 farms are in Sullivan County encompassing 50,000 acres and contributing $80,000,000 toward Sullivan County’s economy on an annual basis,

Whereas, funding is required to equip a centrally located aggregation and distribution facility in Glen Wild that will utilize existing transportation and distribution logistics and infrastructure,

Whereas the IDA in conjunction with other partners has secured and committed significant funding toward the project….”

Whose existing infrastructure, transportation and distribution services? If not for a building, then what else will all this money be used for? Possibly 16 jobs within three years for $850,000?