Montrose receives grant to fund food hub study

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Pretty soon Grand Valley agriculture will be easily accessible for shoppers in Montrose. The city was one of four in the state chosen by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to participate in a study that will give their community access to local, organic food year-round.

Montrose received an $11,380 grant from the Enrich Colorado Agriculture program that will fund a feasibility study. The project will bring a food hub to the heart of downtown Montrose that will include a certified commercial kitchen as well as a business incubator to help create different businesses.

The Downtown Development Authority and Valley Food Partnership will collaborate with local farmers and a number of other organizations to create an active and sustainable environment for the project.

"I think it's going to create an environment where farmers hopefully feel more confident in what they're bringing to market and feel comfortable enough to expand production," Downtown Development Authority Executive Director, Wade Nichols said.

The hub will be located in a building that currently houses the Straw Hat Farm Market, a business that currently shares the same values as the project.

"We're hoping that more restaurants may come about because of this and we're hoping that children can see fresher produce in the schools," Nichols said.

There are already quite a few potential collaborators like Western Colorado Community College, The Montrose Farmers Market and Montrose Memorial Hospital.

Project managers also expect the food hub to generate cooking, food preservation and nutrition classes.
Since it is a study, the Colorado Department of Agriculture will use the food hub to evaluate potential legal structures for an operation like this.

Montrose Downtown Development and Valley Food Partners expect the food hub to be up and running in about eight months.

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