CULPEPER, Va. (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is promoting regional food systems with a stop in Culpeper County.
Vilsack visited Blue Ridge Produce in Elkwood on Thursday to discuss the USDA's commitment to developing infrastructure for local and regional food systems.
Vilsack says consumer demand for local and regional food is skyrocketing. Food hubs such as Blue Ridge Produce facilitate access to these markets.
Blue Ridge Produce aggregates, markets and distributes Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables for sale to wholesale customers in the Washington, D.C., area.
The USDA says there are approximately 220 food hubs across the nation, including at least 20 in Virginia. The department says food hubs have grown by more than 65 percent over the past five years.