Davenport Aldermen Debate Gambling on Food Hub Future - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Aldermen Debate Gambling on Food Hub Future

Posted: Updated: Jun 19, 2014 11:13 PM
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Gambling on nutrition. The Quad Cities Food Hub has been serving our community for nearly two years. And now, has a proposal on the table asking Davenport city leaders for thousands of dollars to bring more healthy eating options to families in the QCA. But not everyone thinks it's a sweet deal. 

It may have started with a small selection of salsa, seeds and sweet treats, but managers have big plans for the Quad Cities Food Hub. Advocate Shelley Sheely, telling council members, "It's a unique place and it has the opportunity to go to that next level." That opportunity, coming from a $600,000 federal grant, specifically for food hubs. It's one that would let staffers further their mission of feeding local families, and expand market hours, take the veggie mobile from seasonal to year-round deliveries, increase the virtual retail and wholesale market, as well as develop the commercial and incubator kitchens, even fix up the Farmers Market parking lot.

Alderman Barney Barnhill, announcing in chambers, "We seldom see a lot of our federal dollars coming back into our community, and the Food Hub is a great program." But grant writing these days is done by experts. That's why Hub directors are asking Davenport city leaders for $20,000 to help pay for the process. But Alderman Ray Ambrose calls that a "$20,000 investment on a gamble. It's hard for me to justify that kind of funding for a grey area, an investment that we might not see any results in." 

While others on the council admit that's a possibility, they say this Food Hub application gets extra points because there isn't another one in Iowa. But there are food deserts, areas with no easy access to health food. And aldermen say we've already seen results. "We have started the incubator," Alderman Bill Boom says. "We have started the commercial kitchen to do the training. We have renovated the structure. I consider the $20,000 an investment in the community of Davenport." 

Aldermen will consider the funding request at Wednesday night's meeting. If they agree, Food Hub managers say we'll know the outcome of the grant application by the week of September 30th.

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