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Urban farmhouse to serve as a food hub for city's West Side

Ronald Peralta/WBFO News

Urban farmers at the Massachusetts Avenue Project cut the ribbon Thursday on their new Farmhouse and Community Food Training Center. The $2.4 million facility on Buffalo's West Side will serve as a regional food hub as well as an agriculture-based education and resource center.

MAP received more than $1.3 million in state incentives for the project, plus investments from a diverse base of public and private funding sources. Executive Director Diane Picard says the facility has been in the planning stages for a long time.

"We have been dreaming about this Farmhouse and Community Food Training Center for over a decade, a place that is built to support our work," Picard said.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says the farmhouse will help residents make healthier choices.

"A program like this within a neighborhood where people can see and have access to food and understand where it comes from and be participating, literally, from seed to production, it is going to change people' s attitudes about the importance of fresh food," Hochul said.

"This is going to be a model for the rest of the state."

The Farmhouse at at 387 Massachusetts Avenue will also include indoor and outdoor training spaces and a teaching kitchen. MAP Executive Director Diane Picard says in an era of climate change, the education component of the organization is critical.

"It is more important than ever for young people and communities to understand where their food comes from and have power to determine how that food is grown, processed, distributed and consumed," Picard said.

Finishing touches are still being put in place, with an opening date expected next spring.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.