BETHEL, N.C. (WNCT) – Local farmers, food enthusiasts, USDA, NCDA&CS officials, and community leaders will come together Friday for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Randall A. Gore building for Coalition for Healthier Eating’s Community Food Hub.
It’s happening from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 221 Railroad Street East in Bethel.
Organizers said the facility will support and enhance the role that consuming locally produced food plays in strengthening our personal health, food systems, communities, and economy.
It was just last year that the Coalition for Healthier Eating received from USDA – Rural Development $1.5 million dollars in grants and loans to retrofit a former seed production building in the town of Bethel. As part of that $1.5 million, the Mid-East Commission was granted $250,000 through Rural Development’s RBDG grant program to purchase equipment for the Food Hub.
“This facility is the nation’s first full-service Food Hub that will aggregate, process, and distribute local sustainably produced food items which includes meat, poultry, fresh vegetables, and fruits, in addition to dry goods such as gluten-free grits, corn meal, and flour,” explained Maxine White, executive director and manager of the facility.
Construction began on the 6,000 square foot facility in December 2016.
After consulting and with and receiving approval from ethics officials at the Washington, DC office of USDA the Coalition for Healthier Eating’s board of directors voted unanimously to name the building after NC State Director Randall A. Gore.
“It is extremely appropriate that this facility be named after Randy Gore, who brought over $13 billion dollars to North Carolina’s rural areas” stated Congressman G. K. Butterfield. Mr. Gore will be introduced and formerly presented with the naming of the building by Mr. Dexter Pearson, USDA-Rural Development, Office of Outreach & Community Engagement of USDA’s National Office.
It’s expected that the facility will create 40 jobs in thirty-two eastern North Carolina Counties. Within the next five years, 100+ jobs will be created in Eastern North Carolina Counties.
“The primary function of the Coalition for Healthier Eating is to assist citizens in the reduction and eventual elimination of illnesses such as diabetes; heart disease; hypertension; gout and many inflammatory diseases that are primarily food related, and this Food Hub will make healthier foods more affordable for the average consumer, said White. “Obesity in this country is at an all-time high and eating healthier foods will definitely eradicate it from our society. Every program that the Coalition for Healthier Eating offers focuses on the reality that healthier eating is achieved by “knowing your farmer – knowing your food.”