Hello, Friends! The FSEP breakfast, advertised in the previous post, will be the first of a monthly series located at the WFH bringing together any and all members of our region to present and share information and ideas for improving and expanding access for local, sustainable food. We hope to see you there!
Our planning team has been working hard over the last few months hosting other events, completing grant applications for specific project funding, developing our new LLC’s business structure and making many needed repairs and improvements to some of our buildings and grounds. The recent updating of our website will continue as we look forward to sharing with everyone the exciting news taking place at the Hub and around our community. Following are just a few details of the many activities centered at the WFH; many more updates to come!
The Washtenaw Food Hub has been gifted with the generosity of four women’s gardening efforts since last April. With initiative and perseverance, Eva Forman, Kathy Peterson, Gwen Hejna, and Jane Severson decided to help out the Food Hub and Tantre Farm by transplanting herbs from Tantre Farm and their gardens to the Food Hub. Through a collaborative effort they designed an herb garden, planted flowers, and tomatoes that have evolved into a productive part of the Food Hub, which are beautiful to the landscape, beneficial to insects, and helpful to Tantre Farm in providing an extra source of bountiful herbs for their CSA members and market customers this past summer. We are grateful for their tenacity and consistent watering, weeding, and caring for this little corner of the Food Hub.
On recent tour events with area residents, two community groups involved in very worthwhile efforts included the Hub as a featured stop. The Eco Center’s annual Eco Ride, held on Sunday, June 24 featured a new 10 mile “Eco Tour” route out Whitmore Lake Road, with tour stops at the Washtenaw Food Hub, the Tilian Farm Development Center and Leslie Science Center’s Project Grow gardens. In lieu of registration fees, riders were asked to raise pledges for their ride and pledge donations will benefit the Ecology Center’s work for a safe and healthy environment. Cyclists stopped by the Hub over several hours for some rest and light refreshments, and some took the time for a tour of the property. On Saturday, Sept. 22 it was the Greenbelt Advisory Commission’s turn as members hosted a bus tour highlighting farm and open space properties that have been protected. The Greenbelt program was approved by City of Ann Arbor voters in November 2003 to provide funding for the preservation and protection of open space, natural habitats and working landscapes both inside and outside the city limits. The program has protected almost 2,000 acres of farmland and open space surrounding the City of Ann Arbor, and has leveraged over $12 million through grants, landowner donations, and other locally funded projects. Thank you to both organizations for having us along!
Evan Dayringer has set up shop with his Eat Ideas Farm on a section of the property towards the west boundary. Evan is a member of the Michigan Young Farmer Coalition and in Eat Idea’s first year has been selling his produce at the Wednesday evening Ann Arbor market, the Cobblestone market and to The Brinery. You can see what’s going on at Eat Ideas Farm on Twitter and sign up for the weekly newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to text 734-678-8523 with questions or input for Evan! Profiles like this will be featured as more businesses join the crowd gathering up on Whitmore Lake Road!
WFH Planning team members have been busy with off site activities in addition to work at the Hub. Kim Bayer, Jane Bush and Kathleen Timberlake have all attended various Food Hub conferences in Chicago, Virginia, Vermont and Lansing, bringing back great information from similar efforts. Maris Laporter, Richard Andres, Dan Vernia and Kim presented proposed Hub activities for members and staff of the Ann Arbor Township Planning Commission at two recent meetings. Also, in early August, Richard and Deb Lentz provided fantastic tasting Tantre Farm produce for Dan, as he prepared a peak season summer brunch menu featuring local, sustainable ingredients for Senator Debbie Stabenow and guests at a private fundraising event. Our Senator gave us insight on important food policy issues and her leadership role in crafting the Senate’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill. Everyone who would like more information on current agriculture policy can visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and sign up for weekly updates. Both public and private leaders are realizing the importance of Food Hubs in developing a strong regional food system (please read some of the comments under “Community/Support for the WFH” on this website). This summer the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development requested grant proposals for Value Added/Regional Food Systems funding.
It is our pleasure to announce the Washtenaw Food Hub’s funding proposal for $200K has been chosen by the State and initial work for re purposing the 6000 sq. ft. space behind the former store can begin! Click here to see the diagram which was included in our successful package and illustrates some of the activity to take place.
Stay tuned for more updates; a lot is happening!