DAVENPORT – Customers lined up inside the Quad Cities Food Hub’s market store on Saturday, Oct. 21, to grab the last items at a discount before the store permanently closed its doors.
The nonprofit organization lost its major grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Nicole McLaughlin, as the end of the last day drew near.
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“I was the retail store manager,” McLaughlin said. “Now I’m unemployed.”
Educational classes offered through the organization will continue, at least through the end of the year, she added.
Grassroots efforts also are underway to reopen the market store, though it was unknown how that might be accomplished.
Locally grown produce, meat, eggs, granola, pickles, jams and many other foods were sold at the store, which has been open about seven years at the Freight House, a historic building along Davenport’s riverfront.
In the same building, the Freight House Farmers Market will continue to operate on weekends, in addition to its outdoor market during the growing season.
The Quad Cities Food Hub launched as a bi-state initiative to connect farmers and consumers in Iowa and Illinois, with a goal of paying farmers a fair and equitable price and to supply affordable food to area residents.
Organizers wrote the following on the group’s Facebook page:
“The QC Food Hub initiative started in 2010 to support local food production, connect producers and consumers, cultivate education and training programs, preserve and expand sustainable agriculture, foster local economic development; and promote healthy lifestyles through use of local foods.
Over the past seven years, there has been a surge in demand for locally produced foods. The availability and amount of local food products is expanding significantly. Consumer decisions to buy local or purchase items for specific product characteristics have led to new marketing opportunities for farmers. The QC Food Hub is proud to have had a part in this paradigm shift.
The Quad City Food Hub will be closing its doors in December of 2017 and the Food Hub Market will reduce its hours and close in October. Any education classes and kitchen rentals will be honored by the end of the calendar year and the Food Hub staff will work with community partners for a smooth transition.
We want to thank all of our supporters throughout this effort, especially the City of Davenport and the Levee Improvement Commission who have donated the space and utilities for the Food Hub since we opened our doors.”
See more photos from the QC Food Hub market store’s final day: