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Federal Food Hub Designation comes to South Shore Chicago
Celebration, Saturday, October 1, 11-3 PM
(CHICAGO, IL) From one end of Representative Robin Kelly's 1081 mile 2nd Congressional District in Illinois, to the other for the past two years, farmers, ranchers, workers, the young and the seasoned, have met, planned, and envisioned use of the land for the good of its 700,000 plus residents. Black Oaks Center received a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Local Food Promotion Program Award to further develop local food hub work in both the historic black farming community of Pembroke as well as a food hub incubator in South Shore at the Quarry. The South Shore Healthy Food Hub has been federally designated as an official USDA approved food hub. This means economic opportunities for food entrepreneurs & producers to have local food products canned, packaged and distributed. This is a victory for those who have been working diligently on local food system development. We are moving forward on faith to reduce our carbon footprint while rendering community based economic possibilities from Kankakee County to South Shore in Chicago. Saturday, October 1 Market Day from 11-3 at the Quarry Event Center, we will celebrate the beginning of the 3rd year of grass roots healthy food access in South Shore and the collaborations that have made this victory a reality.
The South Shore food desert was an unacceptable condition in December 2014 when the Dominick's Finer Foods closed. Weekly SaturdayMarket Days have been a local, walk to option for South Shore residents to purchase, healthy affordable food year round. Under the expert guidance of Fred Carter, certified teacher of permaculture and his wife Dr. Jifunza C. A Wright, M.D., M.P.H., a holistic family physician, they both look forward to collaborating more to successfully make the food hub incubator at the Quarry Event Center a place where local food entrepreneurs can come out of their kitchens and get their value added food products to the next level with the support of business coaching and promotion of their products. In addition, a Pop Up Restaurant will feature these local products as well as up and coming chefs specializing in seasonal local harvest made healthy and delicious!
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) definition of a food hub is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.” That," says Carter and Dr. J, (as she is fondly called by the workers and the community), "is exactly what we are putting in place at the Quarry."
This designation has transformed the Quarry's mission and vision.
Still available for rental and events, Dyi Kinney, MD, MAT, MPH, the co-convener of the South Shore Works Health & Wellness team says, "This effort as a federal designation, validates and expands what our community has been doing together for 2 years here in South Shore. The Healthy Food Hub is one of the most stable business entities in our community. We are quietly making a difference together, and providing some of the best and most delicious produce, eggs and sometimes meat, on the planet."
Yvette Moyo, a health enthusiast and manager of the Real Men Charities, Inc. has done health-related work for the past 15 years. She co-convenes the South Shore Works Health & Wellness team with Dr. Kinney. Moyo invited BOC to South Shore in September 2014. The South Shore Healthy Food Hub is reminiscent of self determined food access efforts like the Itango Food coop on Chicago's South Side. The Healthy Food Hub has continued in many configurations for the past 7 years getting healthy affordable food to low food access areas. In 2007, RMC, BOC, and South Shore resident, Anton Seals along with other community organizers committed to healthy communities including then-Illinois Director of Public Health, Dr. Damon Arnold were all a part of the conception of Good Greens which started in Congressman Bobby Rush's office culminating in a Good Greens Festival in 2008. Good Greens is now a monthly information gathering hosted by the USDA FNS.
In the commitment to collaboration, the recent announcement of this official designation, which includes use of the state-of-the-art licensed shared commercial kitchen at the Quarry, food purveyors now able to build enterprises despite the closing of the Park District kitchen just blocks away and the CPS kitchens that are no longer open to residents to build their food enterprises. This transformation of the Quarry to a Food Hub Incubator is much needed allowing for the creation and packaging of local good food, honey and more, produced from throughout the 2nd congressional district and the region.
Dr. Wright-Carter, a family physician impassioned about food as medicine is planning to put upper case HEALTHY on the Healthy Food Hub. She has brought her preventative medicine practice into the Quarry Food Hub Incubator in South Shore. Expect upgrades like an Improv Smoothie & Green Drink Bar as well as medicinal herbal teas brewed up and served during Saturday Market Days. These features will be available during the week at the restaurant as well. Look for more wellness programming as collaborations around health and wellness come to the fore. Akin, 19 year old, vice president of Black Oaks Center and Austin Wayne 24 year old apprentice and committed family man, have been running the market since its inception. To join the health and wellness team and for more information about how to become a food incubatee at the Quarry Food Hub Incubator call Fred Carter at773-410-3446. Demonstrate support through membership visit: http://www.healthyfoodhub.org/become_member #southshoreworks