Food hub seeks help from taxpayers

GREENFIELD — Proponents of the Hoosier Harvest Market food hub are hoping to take the concept to the next level with public tax money.

The market, a fairly new concept for Hancock County, brings farmers together to market their crops to sell directly to consumers. Based out of the Hancock County Purdue Extension office and funded so far by grants, the market opened in June offering a wide variety of produce, meat and dairy products to consumers via online orders.

Buyers place their orders online and pick up their purchases at one of five drop-off points throughout the county. Since opening, the market added additional delivery points in Marion and Henry counties, and Purdue Extension educator Roy Ballard said if more funding is acquired, the market could expand.

Wednesday, Ballard pitched an idea to the Hancock County Council, suggesting that $50,000 for the next two years could go into greater marketing efforts for the hub.

The public subsidy could also be used as leverage for matching grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; a competitive grant application is due next month, and Ballard said since the grant would match local funds dollar for dollar, it could double the county’s investment.

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