What is a Food Hub?
Every Food Hub is different. The range of services a food hub can provide is: business incubation space, food distribution, and marketing of local food vendors. Each food hub’s intent is to fill the specific food-related needs of the community that it is in. This is generally done through promotion of locally-sourced affordable foods, business counseling, assistance with county or state food licensing and access to a commercial kitchen.
History of the Albion Food Hub
The Albion Food Hub was conceptualized in 2013 through funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Albion Community Foundation, Battle Creek Community Foundation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Albion Economic Development Corporation, and the Albion Building Authority (ABA). In March of 2016, the commercial kitchen opened. Today, the AFH is rented for special events, classes, business incubation, and one-time use, it is also the winter home of the Albion Farmer’s Market.
Of the four census tracts in Albion, three are considered to be food deserts by the USDA. This was the driving factor in getting us started. The goals of the Albion Food Hub include improving food access in the Greater Albion Area by removing barriers for food-related businesses, driving economic growth, and supporting the year-round Albion Farmer’s Market.
Visit to Marquette in November for the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association End of the Year Conference 2017. Members included (From left to right): Ryan O’Dell, AmeriCorps VISTA; Lindsay Way, Fair Food Network; Caitlyn M Berard, 2017 AFH Manager; Lauren Freeman, AmeriCorps VISTA; Chris Herweyer, AmeriCorps VISTA; and Andrew Texel, AmeriCorps VISTA.
Albion Food Hub Manager
Laura started out as our market coordinator in April 2017 and has succeeded in growing the market and putting it back on the map. In April of 2018, she stepped up to the new role of Albion Food Hub Manager where she is helping to encourage and coordinate food business opportunities in our commercial kitchen, pop-up market space, and farmers market. Laura also maintains her own vending operation, Green Eggs & Jam, which has vended at our market since 2015.
Albion Farmer’s Market Coordinator
Lisa joined the team as our market coordinator in May 2018. She has vended at our market since 2015 as Monk Farms and has many years of experience operating at farmers markets throughout the region. Follow the Albion Farmer’s Market on Facebook for regular updates on what Lisa’s got going on at the market!