This month, GAINS (Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability) met at Musica for part one of a two-part series that will discuss the importance of the local food movement. Sue Lacy greeted the crowd who was enjoying some of Akron’s own local food, provided by Mustard Seed Market. Phil Nabors, of Mustard Seed, generously donated a beautiful spread for every GAINS meeting.
Lacy introduced the night’s first presenters, Kathy Sapienza and Alice Goumas, of Old Trail School, who work intentionally to integrate Edible Education into the students’ everyday curriculum. They shared examples of how food can be integrated into all school subjects. Something as simple as garlic can be used to cover not only education about agriculture, but mathematics of a recipe, or the history of garlic and its uses. While Old Trail School has a fully integrated Farm to School curriculum, Goumas and Sapienza are working hard to bring Edible Education to more school in the Akron area.
The second presenters were Dotty Grexa, VP of Community Services/Vocational, and Nathan Edge, Gardens Manager, from Hattie Larlham Foundation. Hattie Larlham provides workforce training for adults with disabilities. They are also working diligently in the food movement to bring local food access to Akron’s urban communities. Grexa and Edge presented an exciting new project that will start in Akron this time next year, the Akron Food Hub. Located near the Akron Zoo, the Food Hub will provide cleaning, packaging and retail services for local food. The 4,400-square-foot space will have a receiving room where local food growers can bring their produce to be cleaned, canned, dried or packaged, among other processes. It will also be a meeting room, which will be able to hold cooking classes and other gatherings. The Akron Food Hub will go for a Gold certification from LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council, showing a great example of sustainability innovation in the Akron local food economy.
GAINS meets monthly and offers a space for Akron’s community to build awareness on sustainability. The group is open to anyone and everyone who wants to attend. For more information on GAINS and updates about future meetings, find and like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAIN4Sustainability.