Rub-a-dub-dub, will foodies help Hub?
March 2, 2014
In a half dozen years here, no lament about Carson City from friends or passing acquaintances has been heard more often than grousing about lack of a downtown grocery.
Now comes Harvest Hub in hopes of filling that void.
"The Harvest Hub will be open to the general public to provide Carson City residents with easier access to products that are good for their family, their environment and their community," asserts a document supplied by Stephanie Gardner, executive director of Food For Thought and one of the non-profit Harvest Hub cooperative organizers. Food For Thought provides food for needy young people in the community.
Her document projected the store and delicatessen planned for some time in 2015 at Curry and Washington streets will have four main functions: a farm-to-market program; a healthy food access program; Hoop House to provide both non-seasonal and seasonal produce sites; and Community Commercial Kitchen, which will incubate entrepreneurial specialty-food businesses involving caterers, chefs, etc.
"The community commercial kitchen is crucial to the success of the Harvest Hub," say the organizers, because it would "tie all the components of the business together."
It would add to the retail aspect with sales of to-go items such as sandwiches, muffins, soups, salads, and other foods, as well as offer chefs and nutrition educators a place to teach cooking classes. It would offer farmers space to rent for farm-to-table cottage industries for fare such as jams, jellies, honey, jerky, sauces and other items. In some ways, Harvest Hub will be like a year-round, indoor farmers' market.
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"Our goal is to bring farmers who grow fresh food together with people in our community," Gardner's vision statement indicated.
The overall plan envisions a new, energy-efficient building on a block owned by Carson Adams LLC, which basically is a Hop and Mae Adams Foundation property entity, which the co-op would lease. Gardner said last week organizers of the 501 (c) 3 business have a $12,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and will seek $100,000 via fundraising to get on that block and off the ground.
Whether Harvest Hub wins the day or fades into oblivion is a question that can't be answered here or now. Success always requires sound execution of plans.
But a need exists. Summer farmer's markets do well. The economy is turning. People seem to be eating better. The sustainable food movement includes locavore and slow food fans.
Are interested foodie folks here in sufficient numbers, and will their ranks grow? Carson City will find out.
John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.