LOUISVILLE, KY. (WHAS11) – Seed Capital Kentucky, the nonprofit developer of the West Louisville FoodPort in the Russell neighborhood, has submitted a revised development plan to the city that shows facilities for farmers, educators, distributors, food processors, startups and retailers. The project is slated to provide jobs and economic impact to the West Louisville area. Seed Capital Kentucky has removed plans for a biodigester previously shown on the site.
Seed Capital Kentucky Co-Founders Stephen Reily and Caroline Heine commented that, "While our plans previously included an anaerobic digester, citizens have raised a number of concerns about it. While we still believe that a composting and renewable energy facility like the digester represented a safe and appropriate feature for this project, the FoodPort will keep listening to its neighbors, and we have decided to remove the digester from our current plans."
The West Louisville FoodPort is poised to become one of the most transformative urban reinvestment projects in the last decade. Named by Fast Company as an "Urban Food Oasis," it already has been recognized nationally and internationally for how to bring the entire food process – from growing to processing and sales to distribution and education – into one physical site. On a 24-acre campus at 30th and Market Streets, the FoodPort will locate food-related businesses in one place, where they can buy more food from local farmers and hire neighbors for jobs.
The West Louisville FoodPort will provide numerous benefits for the community, including helping business and consumers gain access to local food at more locations and prices; providing jobs for citizens of West Louisville; increasing recognition and viability of West Louisville as an option for businesses, investors and entrepreneurs to bring economic activity to the area; and building a modern landmark in one of Louisville's most important historic neighborhoods. The overarching goal of the West Louisville FoodPort is to help farmers sell more local food to customers in Louisville and to create jobs and business opportunities and public amenities that serve the goals of its neighbors.
In the first phase of the FoodPort project, Seed Capital Kentucky will raise and invest over $25 million in the project, which will ultimately bring at least 200 permanent jobs to the site; Seed Capital Kentucky and its tenants are committed to filling as many of those jobs as possible with people from West Louisville.
"This project is one of the most dynamic projects in our city's recent history; it has the potential to become a national model and it's being constructed in Russell, a neighborhood that will significantly benefit from the jobs and innovation it creates," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "The nonprofit organizations and businesses who envisioned this project are making significant investments to make the FoodPort a reality and the city is deeply committed to this innovative development that has the power to transform how we grow, process, market and sell food."
The FoodPort plan also includes:
•A landscape plan that supports sustainability, public markets, recreation and job creation.
•Public spaces for community access for gathering, activities and events.
•A demonstration farm operated by Jefferson County Extension service that will offer opportunities for community education around growing food in urban areas.
•Educational opportunities such as nutrition and cooking classes, as well as entrepreneurship and business training opportunities.
Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton has expressed support for the project, which is located in her district:
"I am pleased that the West Louisville FoodPort project will continue to move forward as more information, education and dialogue is shared about all aspects of this important food-centered economic and community development engine for West Louisville," said Hamilton. "The jobs that will be created through the FoodPort are important to my district and West Louisville."
Bonnie Cole, Mike White and Judy Schroeder, members of the West Louisville FoodPort Community Council, a group of nearly 60 members mostly from West Louisville that have been working with Seed Capital Kentucky since January to plan the FoodPort project, added their support in a joint statement, "We continue to be excited about the opportunities that the FoodPort offers West Louisville. As part of the team that is bringing this project to reality, we think it is important to stay focused on the many benefits that the FoodPort will bring to our neighborhoods, including new business and ownership opportunities for residents, education and community building where three neighborhoods come together, and some jobs in green industries. West Louisville is a great location for new investment, so we look forward to continuing our work with Seed Capital Kentucky to bring the FoodPort to life."