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Chilton Food Innovation Center receives grant

Published 3:26pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

“This summer because of the weather and other factors there was not as much produce and other crops were not planted as heavily so there has not been a lot of excess this year,” Mendoza said. “We were able to speak with local farmers including local peach growers who said they were interested in the facility being opened but a lot of the farmers in Chilton County just haven’t gotten around to using the facilities.”

Mendoza said anyone interested in using the facility with an acidified food is encouraged to get insurance and paperwork completed prior to coming and processing the crops.

The center charges a rate of $40 per hour after an application is filled out and is approved by the Innovation Center’s board of directors.

“This is a perfect time to come get everything set up before the crops start coming in and the schedules get more hectic,” Mendoza said. “A lot of farmers get incredibly busy when their crops start coming in so setting everything up now would be beneficial.”

The ARC funded a similar project in Florence where the Shoals Culinary Center teaches entrepreneurs how to mass-produce, package and market food products.

Congress established the ARC in 1965 as a supplemental grant program to raise the standard of living, improve the quality of life and promote economic development in portions of the 13 Appalachian mountain states. Thirty-seven Alabama counties, including Chilton County are part of the ARC area.

Mendoza said having the grant money will help in allowing things at the center to run smoother and faster.

“Our center strives to help farmers because if we help the local farmer we are helping our community,” Mendoza said. “The local food movement is very hot right now and more people want to buy local products.”

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