The founders of local food charity Feed Fayetteville have big plans for a formerly abandoned church on Locust Avenue.
The organization, whose mission is to “create food security locally by cultivating a sustainable local food network,” purchased the building at 221 S. Locust Ave. in October, and is in the process of renovating the space into a community food education center, complete with community gardens, office space, and areas for learning about growing and preparing local food.
The space will also serve as a demonstration, tool-sharing, and aggregation site for other ongoing urban agriculture programs such as SNAP gardens, Farm-to-Head Start, and other community food system initiatives.
“It’s going to provide administrative offices for Feed Communities, which is the parent organization of Feed Fayetteville, and Edible Ozarkansas, a new magazine we’re launching soon,” said Melissa Terry, regional programs coordinators for Feed Communities. “In addition to that, it will be a demonstration site for urban agriculture. We’ve got a few gardens already construction, and we’re building several more.”
Long-term plans for the facility include creating a demonstration kitchen to hold classes, so that the center can provide resources not only on how to grow local food, but how to prepare it as well.
“We want to raise individual and community awareness about the fact that it’s affordable to cook healthy food, and that it can be done in a way that isn’t crazy time consuming,” she said.
Exterior renovations on the building are already in the works, and the group is working with a local architecture firm on designs for the interior of the space.
Last week, the group received a $7,000 grant toward the project from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable foundation.
“We sincerely appreciate the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation for their support,” said Denise Garner, Feed Fayetteville founder and board chair. “We are excited about the potential of our Fayetteville Community Food Hub to be an example of how, by working together, we can create durable solutions to local and regional hunger.”