Fallon Food Hub Restructures

  • 2019-03-01, 04:58 AM
  • Publisher
Fallon Food Hub Restructures
By Leanna Lehman —  February 22nd was the last business day for The Fallon Food Hub storefront on Center Street, but if you are a fan and customer of the local fresh market, fear not, The Food Hub remains open with bigger and better things ahead. The Fallon Food Hub Co-operative was started by the Churchill Economic Development Authority (CEDA) upon receiving funds from the Local Food Local Places Grant offered by the EPA , and other grants. The locally sourced market opened in March of 2016. The idea was to bring local produce, meat, dairy, and value-added products direct to the community, while creating a local, year-round market outlet for producers and growers. The Food Hub has faced many challenges since inception but has also seen success and growth. Taking over the administration of the Great Basin Basket Farm Share, the Churchill County’s growers collaborative, the program has expanded with distribution centers in Fallon at Lattin Farms, Rail City Garden Center in Sparks, and Nevada Marketplace in Reno. The Farm Share program packages boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables locally grown and are available year-round, offering seasonal harvest items. According to Food Hub Director, Kelli Kelly, “The Food Hub offers basic and custom produce boxes and we are currently guiding store customers toward the Farm Share program.” Customers can shop online for products and have them delivered with their regularly scheduled farm share boxes. “Everything that was available in-store remains available, even though access to those products is changing.” The long-term goal for the Food Hub is to open a permanent, free-standing, community facility on South Maine Street that will be fully owned and operated by The Fallon Food Hub. To reach that goal, the difficult decision to close the Center Street location was made. By moving to an exclusively online sales model, overhead will be minimized allowing the board to focus on expanding the Farm Share program while working to complete the purchase of the south Maine Street property. At present, Kelly and the Board continue to work toward implementing the Community Development Block Grant they received through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, an USDA Rural Small Business Grant, and a pass-through grant from Friends of Nevada Organics. “We are in the dream phase,” said Kelly, describing a new Food Hub storefront with a  commercial grade, shared-use kitchen space that would be available for rent and event catering. “The facility will be an all-in-one place for local producers to wash, package, and prepare their products.” She said new regulations to ensure compliance with the Food Modernization Act has made it more difficult for small farm operators and this would help them. Additionally, an indoor-outdoor meeting and gathering space would be accessible to the community. “We would even like to see ‘pop-up’ events and indoor farmers’ markets,” Kelly states. While the property purchase and construction are still in the planning the stage, The Food Hub will continue to host the East Center Street Farmers Market, open to the public every Friday 4PM-8PM during the season, June through September. Vendors and entertainment are planned and The Blood Mobile will be returning to the Market as Kelly reports that Fallon donates the most blood (per capita) in West Central Nevada. The Farm Share program and online store will continue to provide local, fresh produce and value-added products to the region, and the Food Hub is taking subscriptions now for the spring baskets. Customers can visit www.thefallonfoodhub.com to order or for more information.

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