Brass City Fresh CDC
In 2015 Brass City Harvest was awarded funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, under the Local Food Promotion Program, for a planning project to discern a vision and mission for a regional food hub to be based in Waterbury, Connecticut. Waterbury is an ideal location for a regional food hub in that it is inland and upland, and is at the crossroads of Interstate 84 and Connecticut Route 8 which gives it unparalleled access to farmers and emerging markets from Boston to Manhattan. The amount of the planning grant was $24,505 and thanks to that funding, our vision of the architectural design was put on paper so that it served as a work-in-progress. Funding from the USDA also helped to make outreach to Connecticut family farms so that we could understand their needs and determine our customer base to ensure the facility's sustainability. We retained the services of Farm Credit East to prepare a preliminary business plan based upon known factors, customer interest, and the availability and contour of the land which would allow us flexibility to add facilities and features that would make this food hub unique.
That same year,Brass City Harvest secured $46,000 in funding from the State of Connecticut's Farm Viability Program do further develop the food hub and the prospective site on Mill Street in the South End Neighborhood of Waterbury. That funding paid for engineers to conduct a site assessment, environmental work, traffic study, design plan, business development, and full business plan.
Much work has since been done and on November 15, 2016, the State of Connecticut's Bond Commission issued a $1.7 million bond for the construction of the regional food hub. Final preparations are ongoing in order to bid architectural and construction document services, as well as final site work and construction.
It is expected that three phases of construction will take place due to the contour of the land. Phase I will consist of the wash bay, commercial kitchen, and dry storage space. Phase II will consist of commercial greenhouses which can be leased to growers - one will be utilized by the Waterbury Public School System as an extension of its curriculum. Phase III will consist of permanent office space for Brass City Harvest, a student-led cafe, farmers' market, and nutrition center with community classroom space for nutrition education.
Construction is anticipated late spring early summer 2017. Please check back here for updates.