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Evansville to Receive EPA Technical Assistance to Spur Economy with Locally-Produced Foods

Part of Local Foods, Local Places program

05/15/2020
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-049

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (May 15,2020) –Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, announced technical assistance for Evansville, Ind., to help develop a multi-use food center at the site of the Tri-State Food Bank, 801 Michigan Avenue. This would boost economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs while promoting clean air, safe water, open space and healthy food choices.“The Trump Administration is committed to helping communities develop and strengthen their local food economy by investing in opportunity zones in often under privileged communities, some of which have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Support for local food initiatives can improve access to fresh foods, support farmers, grow new businesses, keep Americans healthy and improve the environment.”

“EPA is eager to help Evansville in its plans to develop a local multi-use food center,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “The new food center would potentially help revitalize the neighborhood and provide a space for food growing and preparation, and a commercial kitchen to incubate new local food businesses.”

“The technical assistance offered by Local Foods, Local Places is great opportunity for the City to more closely examine the challenges around food insecurity that we have within our urban core and Promise Zone,” said Kelley Coures, Executive Director, City of Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development. “The assistance can also provide resources to local food entrepreneurs who we want to establish businesses here in the City especially in our Downtown, Haynie's Corner, Franklin Street and North Main areas.  These types of businesses serve as economic and social hubs within our neighborhoods that bring the entire community together.”

The Tri-State Food Bank distributes foods to food pantries in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. To better serve the growing demand, the food bank has chosen to relocate. Evansville is requesting technical assistance to determine if the current Food Bank site is a viable option for creating a multi-use food center with indoor urban garden, raised food beds, food hub, produce gleaning center and commercial kitchen with cold storage rental space.

Evansville will get access to a team of federal, state and regional agricultural, environmental, public health, architectural and economic development experts to help devise an action plan, set goals and identify local assets that can support the local food economy and contribute revitalization downtown and in neighborhoods.

The assistance is provided through the Local Foods, Local Places program, a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve quality of life through the sustainable development of the local food economy. The effort will build upon the work of local leadership in coordinating local food production, commercial kitchen availability, farmers markets, nutrition, food entrepreneurship and downtown redevelopment.

Evansville has an Opportunity Zone like most of the 16 communities nationwide selected for this program in support of the President Trump’s Executive Order 13853.

Nearly all communities selected include Opportunity Zones, in support of President Trump’s Executive Order 13853. The assistance is provided through the Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) program, a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve quality of life through the sustainable development of their local food economy.

EPA will be flexible on the timing of next steps for the project, as necessary, considering that many communities are still dealing with issues related to COVID-19.

For more information on Local Food, Local Places: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places

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