Last week I had the chance to take an inside look at another great project put forth by the Allen Neighborhood Center. I first found out about this amazing group two years ago when Lunch With a Purpose spent the lunch hour folding their newsletter that they hand distribute to the entire east side neighborhood. I remember sitting next to Heather Hymes as she listed off all the programs this facility offered to the neighborhood. It took her a half an hour to complete the list; nonstop, listing one program after the other. I was more than impressed. Since then, I have made sure to stay aware of this area. This is also the same group that runs the Hunter Park Community Garden House, the Allen Street Farmers Market and host World Day every year. Now they are working hard to create the Allen Street Food Hub. The Allen Neighborhood Center took an empty 5500 square foot warehouse located behind the center and decided to up the greatness of this area even more.
They currently are retro-fitting a LEED certified community kitchen area. This space will soon make it possible for the vendors at the market to have access to a facility year round. This is great for the community as they will have access to locally grown, fresh produce throughout the colder months. Quite a few of the urban gardens have hoop-houses that allow them to grow year round.
The Food Hub will also have an incubator community kitchen put in place. This will be used by the local farmers to can or process some of their product. Food entrepreneurs will also have access to use this facility. Finally this kitchen incubator will create the perfect place to teach culinary skills and other educational material relating to food preparation. Other benefits this once obsolete space will provide are food storage for urban growers, a link to connect growers to local buyers and a sense of community that definitely seems to keep growing and growing in this East side neighborhood.
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