An ambitious $10 million plan from a group of stakeholders looks to develop two main sites for a community food entrepreneurship campus just north of Johns Hopkins Medical Campus in East Baltimore, and to have construction completed and programming and incubation for food-related businesses in place by fall 2014.
The effort, called the Baltimore Food Hub, is currently raising the funds through a combination of grants, equity, historic tax credits and new markets tax credits, said American Communities Trust Project Manager Greg Heller.
The Food Hub is the sort of community redevelopment project that embraces “localism” as its keystone: encouraging economic development and growth by ensuring that there are opportunities for residents to spend their money inside the neighborhoods in which they live. (In Buffalo, a former Rust Belt city like Baltimore, this approach has been embraced by nonprofit Buffalo First.) It’s also another initiative that city government is backing as part of its goal of bringing healthy food into city “food deserts.”
To that end, a host of major partners—among them the American Communities Trust, Humanim, East Baltimore Development Inc., Big City Farms, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition Inc., Woodberry Kitchen and Johns Hopkins—are collaborating on both key components of the whole Food Hub, according to the presentation [PDF] from Heller, who helped launch a similar effort in Philadelphia and is now working with consulting firm Econsult:
- Eastern Pumping Station Site (1801 E. Oliver St.): To be the home of an incubator for food-production/serving businesses, a production kitchen (run by Chef Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen), food economy job training, a garden center and hoop farms.
- Hoen Site (2010 E. Biddle St.): The location for leasable space for food production companies and food distribution ventures and additional kitchens for incubator clients.
More to follow.