The Washtenaw Food Hub is grateful to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for our award of $200,000 from the 2012 Regional Food Systems Grant program.
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Before we can enjoy authentic local food as a community, nearby farms must be thriving. The Washtenaw Food Hub’s first priority is to provide local farmers with the agricultural support needed to be ecologically and economically sustainable. In addition to offering resources for farmers, the Washtenaw Food Hub will be a central point for distributing and adding value to local food. For eaters, artisans and investors, the Washtenaw Food Hub will provide a new paradigm for meaningful participation and a trusted destination for food to share with family and friends.
We see this venture as a way to knit together the strengths of our community, offering resources and shared facilities that will allow small, sustainable farmers (and other food entrepreneurs) to aggregate and scale up to meet growing demand. And it will also be a beloved place for local eaters of every income to participate, meet their farmers, and have access to fresh, healthy food. The guiding principles of the Washtenaw Food Hub are fostering sustainability and demonstrating the possibilities of health for soil, people and place as we create a network of complementary businesses, small-scale processing facilities, gardens, demonstration projects, and a location for community participation, events and food education.
The Washtenaw Food Hub is located at the site of the former Braun family farm, which was founded in the 1830′s. Our 16-acre property, formerly occupied by an agricultural feed and supply facility, was purchased in December 2011 and contains the basic infrastructure necessary to support Food Hub operations; a former feed store building with a front retail area, storage areas, large loading docks, and a 50-space parking area. The property also contains six free-standing storage structures, a farmhouse, limited farmland, and a pond. The site is ideally located to meet the needs of various stakeholders from growers to end-users. Bordered almost entirely by preserved agricultural land, the site is near local growers, 3 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, adjacent to US-23, and within minutes of M-14 and I-94. These unique features will allow local growers ready access to the Washtenaw Food Hub and ensure streamlined distribution to local and regional markets.