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Help Support Local Food

I love food. Too much, in fact. I've fought a battle with weight all of my life. I joined The Fitness Loft when they opened in October 2014 because I knew that exercise was part of my solution. I love working out here, it is definitely helping me feel better. I am no longer afraid of treadmills!!! But I know that to achieve significant results I also need to tame my food addiction, and manage my portions and eat healthier foods. Exercise is simply not enough.

So, food is important to me. Community work is also important to me. My community is an extension of my family. I've done community work since I was a teenager, and have been involved with volunteering and several nonprofits in Columbus since 1992. Most recently, I'm wearing a variety of community development hats in South Columbus. With one of my hats, I'm Executive Director of the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association, and I'm working with a lot of good people to redevelop Parsons Avenue and South Columbus, and in particular, help our residents find training that they need to be more productive workers and if interested become entrepreneurs.

As fate would have it, my interests in food and community have come together.

FoodPlan1



A few years ago, several of us decided that South Columbus needed a food plan. This would be an effort to research the community and take a snapshot of where food is grown, produced, processed, consumed, and in general look at the role of food in South Columbus and look for ways to boost access to healthy food and create a business climate that nurtures the growth of local food entrepreneurs. One of our first projects, sponsored by The Fitness Loft, was to hire Local Matters to help our community create our food plan. We published the plan earlier this year.


Meanwhile, we have been working with the City of Columbus and other stakeholders on plans for boosting economic development, especially for food entrepreneurs. As part of that effort, the City agreed to fund a feasibility study to consider building some facilities and training programs to use food as an economic driver to improve the health (literally) and vitality of our community. The response has been overwhelming, and the support from throughout Central Ohio has been wonderful.

You can check out the feasibility study itself as well as renderings of a possible food campus in South Columbus.

So, what now? Where from here?

FoodPlan2


Based on our research so far, we're going to work the financial and logistical details to get some new food initiatives underway, and to design and build a financially sustainable South Columbus Fresh Food Campus. This will take some time and certainly some money and the work will not be easy. However, really good work on food hubs is going on around the country, and we are working on plans for Columbus to step up and become a national leader in local food. This will help us be healthier, help us grow new food companies, and help us revitalize South Columbus, providing new training and job opportunities for our families. Come join us! You can follow our progress on www.AllThingsSouth.org.

Many thanks to The Fitness Loft and City of Columbus and many others for their leadership here, and more good news is coming, with your help.

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