Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Food Innovation Center (FIC) is a 16,000 square-foot building on approximately 8 acres of reclaimed urban land in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dedicated to sustainable farming practices and community-outreach, The FIC emphasizes the importance of good, affordable food in a healthy and happy life.
Institutions that want to sell local, healthy produce have been discouraged by the added costs of sourcing from multiple small farmers, adapting their menus to local goods, and processing the produce. Now, the FIC has taken its biggest step yet with ValleyHUB: By filling a gap in the local and regional food logistics infrastructure, the HUB connects profitable institutions with local growers. ValleyHUB serves as the much-needed middle-man in the equation, acquiring fresh produce from local growers and efficiently delivering it to customers and resellers that would otherwise be forced to source from mass-producers.
Under the guidance of Food Hub Manager Randall Davis, the Center has scaled to accommodate institutional, retail, and restaurant customers’ needs. Over the past year, the Center has launched a network of health-conscious producers, vendors, and clientele in the Southwest Michigan area. These include grocers, restaurants, schools, and hospitals.
It’s all part of the Bronson Healthy Living Campus project, a “catalyst for urban revitalization, community health and workforce development through sustainable food education, training, production, distribution and preparation.” The others are the KVCC Culinary and Allied Health Building and a primary care clinic operated by Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Alongside those mental health and physical fitness resources, the FIC is the nutritional side of this expansive mind and body wellness triad.
Throughout their impressive first year, InterCrate is proud to provide ValleyHUB with our Model 10.5 crate. With so much produce trading hands, ValleyHUB needed a way to store, wash, and ship food with reliable ease. This light, reusable crate does exactly that, allowing them to forgo disposable cardboard boxes and focus on getting the area’s freshest food to the community that wants it.
InterCrate helps ValleyHUB bridge the gap between local growers and a variety of institutions by giving them the durable product they needed to achieve their vision.