Program to Bolster Food, Ag Efforts in Gary

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ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, which is a collaboration among the city, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and UChicago's Place Lab, is among the projects that will benefit from the federal program. ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, which is a collaboration among the city, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and UChicago's Place Lab, is among the projects that will benefit from the federal program.
GARY -

The mayor of Gary says inclusion in the federal Local Foods, Local Places program will enhance the city's ongoing downtown redevelopment efforts. Karen Freeman-Wilson says the U.S. Department of Agriculture support will build on initiatives designed to create jobs and economic development, particularly in the food innovation and urban agriculture spaces. Gary is one of 27 communities throughout the country selected for program, which helps revitalize downtown neighborhoods through establishing of hubs and farms to boost demand for local food supply and jobs.

She says programs like the ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, a culinary incubator and community space located in a previously-abandoned building, will benefit from the increased focus.

The Local Foods, Local Places program offers technical assistance to create an action plan for repurposing vacant land into what officials describe as "purposeful areas through the development of local food systems." It will also promote food producers, farmers, community kitchens and aim to boost access to healthier foods. A team of experts will work with the city on multiple projects.

Freeman-Wilson says LFLP "aligns with our vision for revitalizing the city's downtown; the connectivity to our local development and existing neighborhood planning initiatives: livable centers of Downtown, Emerson, Horace Mann, the Broadway Corridor and more recently, Main Street Refresh. I am particularly excited about the job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities the initiative presents for local residents."

The program is a joint effort among the USDA, Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Transportation, Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority and the White House Rural Council.

Freeman-Wilson says the city has made significant progress in transforming its downtown.
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