With the opening of a new farm stand and their first on-site café, the Food Bank of Delaware completed the final two phases of construction at a massive new facility in Newark last week.
The space is nearly double the capacity the Food Bank occupied at their former location, and every area of the operation has been improved.
Some 300 people, including U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, were on hand as the Food Bank celebrated the grand opening of their state-of-the-art, 80,000 square-foot facility at 222 Lake Drive in Pencader Corporate Center on Friday.
Staffed by Food Bank of Delaware culinary students, the Discover Café is open to the public but will essentially serve the 5,000 people who work at the business and industrial park where the new facility is located as well as the 16,000 annual volunteer visitors to the Food Bank. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch weekdays from 6:30 am to 2 pm.
Most produce sold at their new farm stand is grown right on the property. They have two greenhouses in an adjacent four-acre vegetable and fruit farm field. But they are also partnering with other growers and manufactures of food products like jams, cheese, eggs and honey as well as some produce to provide a variety of options at the new farm stand, which is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Food Bank of Delaware CEO Patricia Beebee says both of these offerings represent training opportunities for adults enrolled in their programs.
Some highlights of the new facility:
- Increased capacity to bring in fresh, nutritious produce from local growers for Delaware families in need
- Increased training space for the Food Bank’s Delaware Food Works workforce development programs, including The Culinary School and L.O.G.I.C. (Logistics, Operations, General Warehousing and Inventory Control)
- A four-acre farm enables the Food Bank to grow its own foods. The organization is currently growing tomatoes and peppers in two high tunnels that will be sold through a summer CSA and an on-site farm stand. Proceeds will benefit the Delaware Food Works workforce development initiative. The CSA and farm stand will also feature locally-grown foods from other Delaware farmers and Delaware producers.
- The Discover Café provides an employment opportunity for current culinary students and alumni. Proceeds from the café benefit Delaware Food Works.
- An on-site Healthy Pantry Center provides an opportunity to directly serve families in need. The pantry is set up like a mini grocery store to empower clients to make food decisions that are best for their household. Emphasis is placed on nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and more.
First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney said the new Food Bank facility answers the greatest needs and reflects the most promising responses to hunger in Delaware. “Not just short-term, crisis response, but also addressing underlying issues that put children and families at risk for food insecurity. It’s a privilege to be one of the Food Bank’s partners in that work,” she said.