The Food Hub campus will include:
Food Business Incubator: In Baltimore it is challenging to start and run a food business. One of the major barriers is the requirement of producing product in a licensed commercial kitchen. To overcome this hurdle, the Food Hub will include a food business incubator, with commercial kitchens for rent by the hour to culinary entrepreneurs and food truck operators. Based on national best practices research, the incubator will include a state-of-the-art, fully licensed food service environment with four kitchens, dry/cold/freezer storage, separate prep rooms for gluten-free, kosher, allergen free production, and easy access for distribution. The incubator will also provide business technical assistance programming, access to affordable start-up capital, and contract opportunities to help community-based food entrepreneurs legitimize and grow their businesses.
Office Space: The campus will include a building dedicated to flexible office space for food businesses and nonprofits. As entrepreneurs create new small businesses, the Food Hub can serve as their physical home base, providing affordable facilities for them to house and grow their business.
Job Training: The Food Hub team includes several organizations experienced in food industry job training. The Food Hub will provide physical facilities to host a variety of job training programs. Job training candidates will find easy placement among the businesses at the Food Hub, as well as the project’s partner institutions. The goal is for the Food Hub to both create businesses and work-ready candidates to fill those businesses, while providing contract opportunities to help those businesses grow and create more jobs.
Urban Farming: Urban farming is an emerging piece of the local food economy, bringing productive new use to vacant urban land, creating jobs in under-served communities, and providing very local food production. Most importantly it empowers under-served communities by connecting them to fresh food sources in their own neighborhood. Baltimore-based Big City Farms plans to build a high-intensity urban farm at the Baltimore Food Hub, as part of its network of urban agriculture sites. Big City Farms is a for-profit urban agriculture company that is both a grower-network of small, urban sustainable farms and an aggregator that collects, processes, and delivers produce to grocery stores, hospitals, colleges and individual farmer’s market shoppers. The farm will be an integral part of the Baltimore Food Hub-providing a laboratory to create jobs and connect individuals with where their food comes from.
Production Kitchen: Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde is one of the Baltimore region’s innovators in the local food movement. The owner of two restaurants, he currently produces over 40 artisanal food items with raw ingredients bought from local farmers, and processed, canned, jarred, and prepared in Baltimore. Chef Gjerde’s new production kitchen at the Food Hub allow the local food enterprise to grow, purchasing even more produce from local farmers, bringing more seasonal products to market, and creating jobs for the community. The presence of this facility in East Baltimore will support and inspire other locally focused businesses in the area, while at the same time bringing a new sense of scale to Baltimore’s local food economy.
Teaching Garden: The Food Hub will build linkages with Baltimore schools through educational programming for youth. The educational garden and connected classroom kitchen will be modeled after celebrity chef Alice Water’s successful Edible Schoolyard project. This component has strong potential for partnerships with public and charter schools, as well as independent organizations focusing on youth programming
Farm Stand/Garden Center: The Food Hub will include a farm stand, open to the public, with access to fresh, local products. In addition, it will include a garden center, also open to the public.