West Louisville FoodPort
Louisville, United States
Huge FoodPort project set to benefit small/medium farmers and reduce supply chain to bring consumers closer to their food sources.
The FoodPort project is a food-centric economic and community development engine that will create jobs for West Louisville residents, enhance the built environment and green space of surrounding disinvested neighborhoods, enable existing small businesses to grow, increase farmers’ income as they increase their market channels, enable new food businesses to take their first steps, and provide educational opportunities around eating and agriculture.
The plan is to transform the 24-acre brownfield into a seed-to-waste food chain where food is grown, harvested, processed, sold, eaten and even disposed into a bio-digester to be converted to methane gas and returned to the energy stream. Along each step of this process, members of the Louisville community have a chance to work, learn, nourish, commune and invest in their own futures and that of their city.
Background and objectives
- Increased access to locally - and regionally - sourced foods in the Louisville Metro area
- Increased income for regional farmers based on agreements from wholesale buyers to purchase larger volumes
- Job creation, including workforce training and second chance workforce opportunities
- Small business and entrepreneurial opportunities for members of the West Louisville community
- Environmental improvements, including the addition of multiple acres of horticultural operations, planting of dozens of trees, storm water capture techniques, and permeable surfaces and parking areas
- Community programming, including cooking and nutrition classes, and horticulture programming
- Creation of public “third” spaces – gathering places, playground & rec spaces, event spaces for neighbours and visitors, and walking areas for neighbours
- Development of retail businesses to serve the area
- Educational opportunities for students and visitors to learn about the local food system
- As a unique Midwestern “non-coastal” model of innovation, the FoodPort becomes a destination site bringing visitors to West Louisville
Lease terms competitive to the area will be developed as the project moves forward.
- June-October: Conduct city-wide research to quantify demand for local food in Louisville
- December: Publish Louisville Local Food Demand Analysis
- February: Convene 350+ community members to unveil demand study results and discuss opportunities that arise as a result of this information
- March-December: Conduct research into local food initiatives across US and elsewhere;
Develop vision for infrastructure solution to connect supply with demand for local food to capitalize on $800 million potential economic impact for Louisville and increase market opportunities for regional farmers.
Conversations with potential project partners: farmers, food businesses, City of Louisville Metro, entrepreneurs, developers, funders
- October: Hold first group meeting with potential food hub partners at Community Foundation of Louisville
- December: Individual meetings with potential food hub partners
- January: Participate in Louisville Barn Raising with Leadership Louisville Center Bingham Fellows – validate food hub concept
- June – July: Signed Memorandum of Understanding with partner organizations & businesses to-date
- August: Present West Louisville Food Hub plan to US Conference of Mayors’ Food Policy Council
- September: Formalize Option Agreement with Louisville Metro on 24-acre parcel of land at 3029 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard
- October: Harvard Graduate School of Design students in Louisville to study West Louisville Food Hub; they later present Louisville Food Hub project to James Beard Foundation Conference in New York City
- October: Architecture RFP process
- November: Bus trip to Haviland, Ohio with West Louisville neighbors to visit anaerobic digester
- December: Master plan concept design delivered by OMA
- January-December: Continue to develop partner/tenant relationships; monthly meetings of Community Council and other public events
- March: Stephen Reily to present on food-based economic development at TedXManhatttan: Changing the Way We Eat; The FoodPort Community Council will host a public Project Update this same day
- August: Break ground on anaerobic digester
- September: Break ground on Phase I FoodPort
- January-October: Construction Phase I FoodPort
- March: Anaerobic Digester begins operations
- November: Phase I FoodPort opens
Financing and resources
The project represents a potential $50 million+ investment in West Louisville that will bring 200 permanent jobs, of which nearly 2/3 are new, as well as 275 temporary construction jobs.
- the James Graham Brown Foundation,
- the Community Foundation of Louisville,
- the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation,
- the Reily/Bingham Family Fund,
- the WL Lyons Brown Foundation,
- the Augusta Brown Holland Foundation,
- and the Brook Brown Barzun Philanthropic Foundation.
- the EPA for brownfield remediation,
- the MSD for green infrastructure development, the USDA for project implementation,
- the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for community and economic development funding, and funding from the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation.
Results and impacts
The West Louisville FoodPort Community Council is working to create a Community Benefit Agreement in order to inure benefits of the FoodPort to the local community.
A Community Benefit Agreement is a legally binding, enforceable agreement that calls for a range of benefits to be produced by the development project. It allows community groups to have a voice in shaping a project, to press for community benefits that are tailored to their particular needs, and to enforce developers’ promises