BETHEL, N.C. (WNCT) – New jobs and healthier eating?

A new food hub coming to Bethel hopes to bring all of that and more.

Healthier eating is about to get a whole lot easier for the rural area.

Thanks to the USDA and the Coalition for Healthier Eating, residents will have fresh food right in their neighborhood.

“At one time, we were thriving but now we have none,” said Linda Wall, Bethel resident, who’s lived in the town for forty years. She added that, in that time, she has seen a lot of change in her grocery options in town. “There was a supermarket for a number of years and, when we first moved here in 1976, I think there were three grocery stores.”

Right now, she shops at the Dollar General. But soon she’ll have another option.

“We needed to make sure that people have local access to what the farmers are producing in their area,” said Maxine White, Executive Director, Coalition for Healthier Eating.

A new food hub welcoming local farmers and healthier organic foods is under construction.

White said this will change the game for this rural town, “With the help of the USDA funding this project it enables us to lower the prices.”

And it will boost the town’s employment.

“When our door opens, we will be creating 40 jobs that will give people in this area an opportunity to at least work some place,” she said.

Plus, it will offer them a chance to live healthier.

“People are now feeding their entire families from fast food places; breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” she added. “We will be packaging our product in such a way that it’s mindless in terms of menu planning.”

Wall said it’s just in time, “I think this can only mean good things for all the citizens of Bethel. I’m looking forward to it!”

White said, once employees at the hub have worked there for more than three years, they will offer a program with rural development for home ownership.