tarrant area food bank

New Agricultural Hub to Help Increase Food Distribution for Tarrant Area Food Bank

The AgHub is set to open in August

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Wednesday morning's rain was a good sign for the Tarrant Area Food Bank's ceremonial groundbreaking.

The event celebrated the new Sid Richardson Foundation Agricultural Hub, or AgHub, which will serve as a distribution center for fresh goods.

"Our goal is to serve local community farmers as well as bring in produce from across the state," Tejas Rane, VP of Innovation for the Tarrant Area Food Bank said.

The building is located directly across the street from the Morris Foundation Distribution Center and was funded by the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County through the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Renovations to the building will be funded by the Sid Richardson Foundation to help ensure the current 140,000 clients of the Tarrant Area Food Bank are fed.

"Inflation has really hit our community very, very hard, and we're seeing as many people seeking food assistance today, as we saw at the height of the pandemic," Julie Butner, CEO of the Tarrant Area Food Bank said.

The facility is 40,000 square feet and a fraction of that will be dedicated to the AgHub.

"We're going to have about 8,000 square feet of cooler space and work area," Rane said. "That cooler space is going to be used for bringing in produce, mixing loads and distributing that produce to our community as well as neighborhoods."

The AgHub's donated fresh produce will come from local farmers in the Tarrant Area and growers in the Rio Grande Valley and Arizona. Produce will be exchanged for protein from neighboring states' food banks.

"There are two banks that are in close proximity, Oklahoma and also Arkansas," Butner said. "Oklahoma processes beef, and Arkansas processes chicken. So, we will be able to exchange our produce for their beef and chicken, which again is going to substantially impact the nutrition of the community right here in the Tarrant area."

According to Butner, the fresh produce will be distributed to over 500 TAFB local partner agencies and other Feeding America food banks in the region.

Operations are expected to be in full swing by August of this year with a goal to sort and distribute 41 million pounds of fresh produce by the end of 2024.

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