A Shared-Use Community Commercial Kitchen A shared-use community commercial kitchen can be a key piece in building economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and community health. It can also play a critical role in developing a healthy, safe, and secure local food supply on an ongoing basis and during times of crisis. Economic Opportunity: By meeting all local health and safety requirements that apply to food produced for sale, the kitchen facility provides small scale food entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs the space to prepare value-added food for public sale. Small scale and low-income food entrepreneurs lack the capital to invest in their own production facility or even to pay high rates for commercial kitchen rental at the few available facilities in the area. In addition to creating income for entrepreneurs and their families, the kitchen can provide a location to process locally grown food, thus increasing economic opportunity for local farmers. Environmental Sustainability: This commercial kitchen also strengthens the local food system, by increasing the volume of locally grown food that can be processed locally, and by increasing locally produced food products. Shortening the supply chain of any aspect of the food production process ultimately decreases the food miles travelled, thereby decreasing the carbon footprint of our meals. Health Benefits: Locally produced products are likely to be fresher and less heavily processed than mass produced and heavily-traveled food. Increasing our communityâ€™s access to these foods is better for our physical health. Food Security: A kitchen that can process food locally can increase our food security by increasing the availability of locally grown foods throughout the year. This is important year round, but especially important in times of crisis. Hunger Alleviation: Shared-use community commercial kitchen facilities would also support volunteer preparation of healthful food for distribution at shelters and to needful community members. Shared-use community commercial kitchens are a win-win for our local communities.
Below are some links and examples of Community Commercial Kitchens: La Cocina in San Francisco http://www.lacocinasf.org/about-la-cocina/ The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs will become economically self-sufficient and contribute to a vibrant economy doing what they love to do. Threshold to Maine http://www.thresholdtomaine.org/Shared%20Use%20Kitchen.htm The purpose of the Threshold To Maine Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Area is to assist communities in five counties cultivate food preparation and processing skills and further their commitment to balancing social, economic, and ecological issues around natural resource use. As part of this mission, Threshold to Maine is working with five shared use kitchens, which are described on this site. Culinary Incubator www.culinaryincubator.com This website is dedicated to small food businesses who are trying to find a commercial kitchen to cook their product. Culinary Incubators drive new start-up businesses that could not legally produce their food without a health department licensed commercial kitchen. In addition to producing food, commercial kitchens can be used to shoot TV shows, teach cooking classes, host food tastings, and other events. Community Canning A larger commercial kitchen facility could also include a community canning facility. This facility would be a space where anyone interested in canning the seasonal bounty could rent supervised space to do so. Below are links to community canning articles and information: http://www.co.prince-edward.va.us/cannery_index.shtml http://frugalliving.about.com/od/canningfoods/a/Community-Cannery-Locations.htm http://www.bocc.citrus.fl.us/commserv/extension/canning/kitchen.htm http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1977-07-01/Home-Canning-Away-FromHome.aspx