DAVENPORT, Iowa — A group dedicated to local food production in southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois is closing its doors, in part because grocery stores have started offering locally produced food.

The Quad-Cities Food Hub will close by December, the Quad-City Times reported . The nonprofit opened in 2012 and focuses on supporting local food production, connecting consumers to farmers and promoting healthy eating.

It also offers a market with local produce, cooking classes and other educational programs. The retail market will begin limiting hours this weekend and is scheduled to close at the end of the month. Classes will continue until the end of the year.

The organization is no longer sustainable, said Denise Bulat, president of the nonprofit’s board.

The nonprofit’s $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expired in September. The grant helped fund staff for three years.

Bulat says attempts to acquire other funding have been unsuccessful.

“Some of it is the funding and some of it is our bottom line,” said Liz Hogan, operations manager. “As we see more local food in grocery stores, a nonprofit likes ours is no longer relevant.”

The group says other area organizations will continue serving the community. Stores such as Healthy Harvest, Natural Grocers and Hy-Vee are carrying more local foods, Bulat said.

“There’s less of a need for us now,” Bulat said.

The Food Hub has 12 employees and will begin cutting staff members this week.

“We’ve all been saying it’s bittersweet,” Hogan said. “We will miss the vendors and the staff. We just felt this was the right time.”


Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com