Project Summary: Project #17 will plan, permit and improve the existing former Farmer John Meat Company Warehouse building for expanded capacities as Healthy Food Rescue/Redistribution Hub & Commercial Kitchen Operations Center; Coordinate and integrate the St. Rest + Food to Share Hub into the daily metropolitan scale operations of an existing and growing city-wide network of food donor & food recipient organizations; and Operate and expand Healthy Food Rescue/Redistribution, and Cooking Skills & Nutrition Classes using the community commercial kitchen space.
Details: The St. Rest + Food to Share Hub project will repair and improve an aged and underutilized 6,800 square foot building on the St. Rest campus, the former Farmer John Meat Company warehouse facing Elm Avenue (see accompanying photos), transforming it into a metropolitan area serving Food to Share food recovery, storage, office, and distribution center along with construction of a much needed commercial community kitchen area. Because St. Rest + Food to Share Hub is part of a 3.14 acre campus master plan included in the City of Fresno’s Elm Avenue Revitalization Strategy, it will help implement that City approved strategy as a Catalyst Site for the Elm Avenue.
Improving the facility, operating it as a key Food to Share network hub in Southwest Fresno, and connecting it with metropolitan area Food to Share activities, will result in the annual recovery of over 1 million pounds of nutritious food, that would otherwise be wasted, and get that food to families that face daunting food hardship and lack the financial means to purchase healthy food. This food rescue and distribution to underserved and disadvantaged families will reduce GHG emissions by 2.2 million pounds annually.
This St. Rest + Food to Share Hub partnership will leverage Food to Share’s relationships with a growing network of food donors (28 FUSD schools, 4 retail outlets, farmers, packers, etc.) and 49 community-based food receiver organizations to use this site as a storage and distribution center for the Fresno/Clovis metropolitan area. With the increased storage capacity, Food to Share will be able to take on greater direct food recoveries from farmers, packers and warehouses. Having regular access to a food-safe facility with refrigerators, freezers and non-perishable storage will allow Food to Share designate a school recovery route specifically for South West Fresno. This would allow us to increase our number of daily school recoveries on this route, and store food overnight or longer to better meet the delivery and distribution requirements of various Receiver Organizations. The day following full routes, designated Food to Share Drivers will start their day at St. Rest and distribute the food to the surrounding West Fresno Receiver Organizations to increase Food Access in 93706.
There are many additional co-benefits of this project. The much needed community kitchen element of the St. Rest + Food to Share Hub will also equip families with the confidence and knowledge to utilize healthy food, while shopping on a budget to take charge of their own health. A food hub at this location will also increase St. Rest’s capacity to receive Food to Share rescued food and distribute to disadvantaged community members in the City and County of Fresno through monthly Food Giveaways coordinated by their Food Ministry. Additionally, having access to a commercial kitchen at a location in Southwest Fresno that hosts multiple Food Distributions would increase the effectiveness of Cooking Matters courses in 93706. Another way we at Fresno Metro Ministry and Food to Share engage with the Southwest Community is through participation at the Yo’Ville community garden and urban farm incubator. We will be able to recruit participants through outreach at St. Rest’s Food Distributions at this facility. Overall, this project not only expands capacities to meet significant health and nutrition needs in Southwest Fresno and across the metropolitan area, but also provides the significant GHG emission reductions creating substantive environmental and climate stability benefits sought by SGC Transformative Climate Community funding objectives as well