Food Hub Information and Planning Workshop Scheduled for December 2013

Article by: Louise Jett,
GODFREY – The Alton Area Business Development Association (AABDA) and Lewis and Clark Community College will co-host the first of three information and planning workshops for the region’s emerging Food Hub Cooperative from 8-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Trimpe Advanced Technology Center. 
“This meeting is open to local food growers, chefs, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs in food production, processing, baking and food retailers who want fresh ingredients for their meals and products,” Board President Ann Bromaghim said. “The objective is to develop a network/exchange that will seamlessly connect and support these groups.”
A Food Hub brings together area buyers of locally grown food crops, animal and specialty food products with sellers, including area farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, specialty dessert and food product producers, and other vendors from Alton’s annual Farmers and Artisans Market.
AABDA and the Non-Profit Food Service Incubator has teamed up with L&C to develop this fast emerging local food co-op. This workshop is the first of three planning workshops. Keynote speakers will explain the Food Hub concept, how it works, identify local participants, set expectations and present opportunities necessary to deliver fresh local foods and meats to area restaurants and store shelves. Breakout sessions will encourage discussion, and the event will serve to inform and quantify participation in such an endeavor. 
Scheduled guest speakers include Catherine Neville, Feast Magazine; Jackie Burns, Principia College Professor and local source food market owner; Sara McGibany, Director of Alton Farmers & Artisans Market; and local entrepreneurs currently sourcing local products.
The workshop is free, but reservations are required and seating is limited to the first 100 reservations.  To reserve a space or for more information on the AABDA email or contact Bromaghim at (618) 551-5024.
The AABDA Incubator is now accepting applications from businesses and entrepreneurs in the food production/processing, baking, and the arts (sculpture, jewelry, pottery, watercolor, pastels, music, dance, theater, etc.) interested in leasing a certified commercial kitchen, and/or seeking the services and support of a business incubator. This would include caterers and restaurateurs. 
ABBDA draws its leadership, sponsorship, and support from L&C, Liberty Bank, River Bend Growth Association, Current Realty, David Fingerhut Consulting, Alton Main Street Farmers & Artisans Market, SCORE, Reaching Up and Reaching Out Incubator, Alton YWCA, Heavenly Scent Popcorn and studio6pence.