A Falcon Heights project several years in the making took a step closer to reality in mid-May when ground was broken for the Good Acre food hub on the old Hermes greenhouse site.

Scheduled to open this fall on Larpenteur Avenue, just west of Snelling Avenue, the Good Acre will be an example of a new distribution model designed to make locally grown, healthful food more available to consumers.

The food hub will help local growers find markets for their produce with restaurant, co-op and institutional buyers.

The Pohlad Family Foundation of Minneapolis is the project’s developer and three members of the family, Allie, Lindsay and Sara Pohlad, are credited with “getting the ball rolling,” said Terry Egge, senior program director with the foundation.

“All have a passion for creating greater support for local small to midsize farmers and making sure healthy food is affordable and accessible, especially in areas where scarcity exists,” Egge added.

As originally envisioned, the 3.4-acre site was to include affordable housing in the form of an apartment building, but that developer ran into financing difficulties and backed out. Egge said the foundation is still exploring relationships with housing partners, but she added that a local food co-op also has expressed interest in operating a grocery store on that portion of the site.

The Good Acre will include an aggregation and distribution center, training and education facility and a limited retail operation.

Rhys Williams has been named general manager of the Good Acre. Williams has nearly 30 years of experience in the food growing and distribution business, most recently with the Co-op Partners Warehouse in St. Paul.

“I wish them the best,” Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom said of the endeavor. “It’s clear that there is a growing and committed constituency for local food. Their location will help bring synergies with University of Minnesota researchers and students.”

Roger Bergerson writes about community news and history regularly in the Park Bugle.

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