“How do we make more people able to access local food in the St Paul area?” was the question that began the January 25 kick-off meeting for the Midway Local Food Resource Hub. Food resource hubs are neighborhood networks that connect community members with the resources to either grow or purchase local produce. Whether that means offering seeds to plant, knowledge of gardening skills, or creating a lending library of tools, the Midway Local Food Resource Hub’s goal is to connect neighborhood resources to make local, healthy food available in a sustainable way.
Grace Grinager, event coordinator and vice-chair of the Hamline Midway Local Foods Working Group explained that, “We want people in the Hamline-Midway community to know about and connect with all the wonderful groups and individuals that are working toward strengthening our local food system in the Twin Cities. We also want people to become involved with the resource hub we are starting for gardeners.”
The concept of food hubs grew out of Detroit, and has spread quickly to the Twin Cities. In November 2011, the Hamline Midway Coalition’s Local Foods Working Group voted to partner with Gardening Matters, an organization advocating for community gardens throughout Minnesota. Gardening Matter’s Program Director Nadjia Berneche told the meeting, “With three food resource hubs in Minneapolis, this is the first for St.
Paul”, which met with resounding cheers from the packed room.
Wednesday’s event included a brief introduction to the concept of local food hubs and allotted time for small group discussions to ask community members about potential workshops, an online food mapping program, and tool sharing programs. The meeting was followed by an open house with tables from partnering organizations, including Mississippi Market, the City of St Paul, and the Hamline Environmental Coalition.
Grinager concluded, “With the economy in a downturn, more and more people are beginning to recognize the value of growing their own food — it saves money, puts more produce in one’s diet, is great exercise, and, through the hub, is a great way to get to know other people in the neighborhood. We want this resource hub to support everyone — aspiring gardeners, beginners, and experts —as we move toward growing, preserving, and preparing food right here in Midway.”
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