Hattie’s Gardens to launch local Food Hub initiative

Hattie’s Gardens is opening a new food hub to benefit the greater Akron, Ohio community. The food hub will provide a space for local farmers and food producers to process and sell their products directly to Akron consumers. It gives surrounding Akron neighborhoods access to locally grown food at an affordable price. The food hub is scheduled to open in 2016 at 395 Douglas Street in Akron.The food hub’s 4,400 square foot space will include a commercial processing kitchen for creating value-added goods, a retail market, and an education and community meeting center.

Hattie’s Gardens has collaborated with The Ohio State Extension Fund, Payto Architects and City of Akron on this initiative. Supporters include the State of Ohio, Summit County Land Bank, Cavaliers Youth Fund, The Lehner Family Foundation and Robert O. & Annamae Orr Family Foundation.

“When we started Hattie’s Gardens in 2011, that was just the beginning,” said Dotty Grexa, VP of Hattie Larlham Vocational and Enterprise Services. “Soon we will have a food hub where Akron residents can have access to locally grown and affordable produce. This encourages a healthy eating lifestyle for the residents.”

Akron has nearly 60 neighborhoods that qualify as food deserts- areas that do not have fresh produce or food available within a one mile radius. The Hattie’s Food Hub addresses the food desert issue in the Douglas Street neighborhood by providing access to fresh vegetables and other products at the hub’s retail shop. The Hattie’s Food Hub will also host cooking demonstrations and nutrition-education classes to educate consumers and residents about healthy eating.

The Hattie’s Food Hub will capitalize on the eat local food movement, attracting business opportunities for local growers who need processing and packaging capacity, and local restaurateurs who include locally produced foods on their menus.

The food hub will provide work and training opportunities for adults with and without developmental disabilities, fostering economic independence in an integrated employment setting.

Hattie’s Gardens is a sustainable agriculture garden that grows organically certified produce on multiple sites around the greater Akron area. It also provides a work training program for adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie’s Gardens has locations at the Akron Zoo and Old Trail School.

For more information contact Dotty Grexa at (330) 274-2272, ext. 7000.

About Hattie's Gardens:

Hattie’s Gardens is a Hattie Larlham work training program for adults with developmental disabilities. The gardens has an additional location at the Akron Zoo. To learn more about Hattie’s Gardens, contact Dotty Grexa at (330) 760-0955 or visit

About Hattie Larlham

Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a non-profit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham inspires people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve through the medical, residential, work training and recreational services the organization offers. For more information, visit

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Jacqueline LoPresti
Internal Communications Officer
Hattie Larlham
330-274-2272, ext. 3011


Scott Juba
Radar Public Relations & Consulting