WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester Regional Food Hub is expanding its operations and moving to Union Station next year.
The announcement was made during Friday's Worcester Redevelopment Authority (WRA) meeting.
The Food Hub currently operates a “food business incubator" out of the Greendale People's Church and uses a warehouse space on Rockdale Street.
They will consolidate their two locations and grow from one kitchen to six kitchens at Union Station. The kitchens will all be behind glass so the public can come and watch the activity taking place.
They will be using the station’s loading docks and will also have access to a large cold storage space area.
The Food Hub will also be operating a retail space with various local food products made in their kitchens and will be marketing towards MBTA commuters and visitors in Worcester's Canal District.
A multi-purpose event space will also be used for workshops, classes and farmers markets on the weekend.
“This space is really going to help increase our visibility to the public because it will be a public location rather than operating out of a church and a warehouse,” Food Hub director Shon Rainford said at the WRA meeting. “We really expect the increase in business is going to help us become a sustainable operation less reliant on grant funds that we’ve received from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts over the past several years.”
In the fall, two programs will be held in collaboration with Worcester State University, including a food entrepreneurship program, with a class on preparing for wholesale inspection and possibly another class on food business marketing plan.
Architects are currently drawing up plans for the Union Station space and construction is planned to start in the fall with hopes of opening the new kitchen and retail spaces sometime in 2022.
The Food Hub left the Worcester County Food Bank in Shrewsbury and moved to Worcester in Jan. 2019. They sell local food from area farms wholesale to hospitals, colleges, restaurants and cafes.
The Food Hub is currently under a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.