Food Hub of Northeast Georgia

— Written By and last updated by Kerri Rayburn

The local Extension Agents of Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham and Cherokee county, along with the regional Resource Conservation and Development (RC & D) toured the Food Hub of Northeast Georgia in Rabun County on February 5th to see first hand the possibilities for our agricultural producers. The following is a report and summary of what was observed and the opportunities that are possible later this Spring. Even though the drive is 1 hour (50 miles) from Whittier, NC, it may provide some agricultural producers a profitable benefit. They welcome western North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina agricultural producers to work with them.

11215519_471079479730300_2730614586449649782_nThe Food Hub of Northeast Georgia is a division of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to ending hunger in Northeast Georgia. The hub is a 38,000 sq. ft. produce aggregation and production facility located in Clayton, GA. It includes a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, root processing lines (fresh and frozen prep), Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) line, and can store at three temperature levels: frozen, cold, and dry. Additionally, the hub will be installing a certified commercial kitchen in the next two years.

Through partnerships with UGA Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics, FHNEGA provides educational resources and programming for farmers, entrepreneurs, markets, and the community at large in a diversity of agriculture-based businesses. Furthermore, the hub provides farm business planning and a variety of assistance services pertaining to issues such as food safety training (GAP, FSMA), marketing, farm planning, and market-specific production.

Services to local farmers include:

–  produce pick-up

–  sorting and grading

–  cleaning, sanitizing, and packaging for fresh distribution

– processing and packaging for frozen distribution

– marketing and sales for individual farms

–  co-op sales under independent and/or food hub labels

–  fresh and frozen storage

–  onsite farmer’s market

–  farm planning services

– small farm business planning

– food safety training

–  assistance with safety and grading certifications

Please contact Robert J, Hawk, Jackson and Swain County Extension Director at 586-4009 or 488—3848, for more information.

46 Plaza Way, Clayton, GA 30552