A message from Joan and Corie:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
2012 was an unusual year for us, in that we began our first serious “bricks and mortar” project. Having dreamed of creating a multi-functional food resource center for years, we committed to the renovation of a 5000 square foot warehouse space located immediately behind the Center.
This functionally obsolete, long empty space would be transformed over the year. Early deconstruction revealed delightful architectural features including a domed roof (the original roof of the Kircher Grocery Store! ), and huge original windows. Progress was steady until the last couple of months of 2012. (Note: Things picked up again in early 2013 and continue at an accelerated pace, so that we are on-target to open mid-2013.)
Even while the dust was flying in the warehouse, ANC staff worked throughout 2012 to craft the programs that will be offered in what will be known as the Allen Market Place, or AMP. These will include:
- A licensed commercial kitchen in which we will offer classes, workshops and culinary job skills training; and also rent to food entrepreneurs;
- The “Exchange”, linking regional growers to area restaurateurs, food service managers, caterers, and others interested in “buying local”;
- Food storage opportunities for farmers and neighbors; and
- A winter home for our seasonal Allen Street Farmers Market .
Though creation of the AMP and its programs was a major focus for all of us in 2012, ANC staff, interns, and a small army of volunteers continued linking neighbors to a wide range of health and housing resources and programs; offered a robust set of gardening programs to age-groups; and hosted countless forums on issues impacting the Eastside.
Those of us who work here have come to appreciate more than ever how every single program we offer depends for its success on a mobilized and engaged community. In 2012, 350(!) volunteers made possible our Market, GardenHouse and nearly everything we did. And a generous community of donors and funders provided the financial support needed to continue our usual work while laying a foundation for a whole new set of health, food, energy and entrepreneurial initiatives in the AMP. We count our blessings often, and you are among them.
Joan Nelson, Director
Corie Jason, Board President