February 25, 2015
Being a successful entrepreneur of a food-based business is a common dream of many people. Access to a commercial licensed kitchen, knowledge of necessary licenses and regulations, and creation of a business plan are common obstacles to this dream.
In an effort to help overcome these obstacles and to promote locally-produced, fresh, healthy foods, Greene County GROWS, a local foods and farmers market organization, is studying the feasibility of creating a community kitchen incubator in the Greene County area.
This type of kitchen is designed to enable a small-scale food producer to rent the kitchen as needed at a relatively low cost and to provide access to resources for business development. These food-based entrepreneurs may continue to use the kitchen or may expand enough over time to move their business to their own facility.
The first step in this study is a questionnaire to gauge the interest of local residents. This survey is intended to answer the question: Are there enough new and existing food producers, farmers, cooks and caterers in our area to use and support a community kitchen incubator?
Those taking the survey will be asked about the ways they could use the kitchen. Possible uses include adding value to garden, orchard, and farm produce by canning, freezing, dehydrating, or juicing to create a marketable product. Cooking for catered events or baking cakes for birthdays and weddings are other ideas. This kitchen would also be a great place to develop recipes for salsas, jams, jellies, and more. Although there is absolutely no obligation to use the proposed kitchen, for the survey to be reliable, names and contact information of respondents will be required.
A community kitchen incubator can have a very positive local economic impact. If the survey finds strong interest, the next steps will be to create a business plan and look at possible locations. Funding sources will also need to be identified. Community support of the kitchen will be vital to its start-up and to its future success.
To take the survey, click here, visit the Greene County Farmers Market Facebook page or the Farmers Market website http://greenecountyfarmersmarket.com. Information will also be available from Greene County Chamber and Development and Greene County Extension. Surveys need to be completed by Friday, March 6. For more information, or to have a survey mailed to you, please call Patti Edwardson at 515-370-3919.
Courtesy of Greene County News Online, 2/18/15 and The Scranton Journal, 2/25/15.