Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths establishing food hubs to strengthen small-scale farms in the state cleared the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee today.Food hubs help connect food producers with distributors and retailers. The bill directs the Department of Agriculture to authorize hubs, and assist farmers to join.“Many small and mid-size farms struggle to turn a profit,” said Space. “Hubs can help reduce costs with more efficient sourcing, and maximize revenue with superior marketing and branding. They help local farms expand their market by pooling agriculture products in a volume that meets the demands of large institutional buyers.”Thirty-four states, including New York and Pennsylvania, have implemented hubs. The U.S. Agriculture Department has been at the forefront of developing the trend across the nation. “Food hubs offer unlimited opportunity to small producers who struggle to sustain any profitability,” said Wirths. “For farmers who can’t bake and sell food in New Jersey without access to a costly commercial facility, the hub provides a path to profits. We’re protecting our states farm families with easy access to broader markets.” Last January, a previous version of the bill cleared the Assembly with a 69-0 vote. Sen. Steve Oroho sponsors the bill in the Senate, where it passed unanimously in October.