Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Economics and Statistics

Advisor

Hughes, David W

Committee Member

Bolotova , Yuliya

Committee Member

Lanford , Blake

Abstract

Horry County, the home of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, attracts a large level of spending by visitors who are helping to fuel growing demand for locally produced food. Regional growers are interested in meeting this demand but are limited by retail requirements with respect to lot size, timing, and quality (including food safety aspects such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification). A number of communities have turned to food hubs as a means of aggregating production by local growers and providing appropriate marketing functions, such as storage and meeting standards. Hence, food hubs can fill a gap between producers and consumers. This study evaluates the feasibility of a proposed food hub for the Pee Dee Region. This analysis includes evaluating interest by regional growers and buyers, and determining organizational and infrastructure needs. Based on survey responses from 20 fruit and vegetable producers and seven produce buyers in the region, the study confirmed that a food hub in or near Horry County would be feasible. The findings of this study suggest that food hubs, through the increase in sales of locally produced fruit and vegetables to larger markets, can increase economic development for rural economies.

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