APR18: A shared-use kitchen is a licensed and inspected food processing facility for the production of value-added products, a service that could otherwise be inaccessible for many farmers and food entrepreneurs. Commercial kitchens can save producers and food entrepreneurs from investing in costly equipment to start or run a food business and preserve the season’s harvest to provide additional off-season income. Driven by the increasing demand for locally produced food, shared-use or community kitchens could be considered as an opportunity to support regional food systems and help small farms and local ventures be profitable and thus viable. Their broader impact lies in the development of stronger connections between local producers and consumers, further increasing sales and availability of locally grown food.
Focusing on existing community kitchens, we will evaluate current successful models and design a toolkit for new and existing kitchens, farmers, non-profits, small businesses and others to navigate equipment needs and costs; regulations; return on investment and market potential for products and kitchen use. We will organize visits to existing kitchens with community partners and perform an economic analysis of kitchen viability and the economic contribution on various sectors of the economy.
APR18: This project involves a two part survey to inform different research objectives, development of an educational toolkit and outreach events and resources to foster learning, collaboration and network development around shared-kitchens in Indiana.
Objective 1: Understand more about shared-kitchens including models, business success, social missions, demographics, funding sources and success. We proposed to survey kitchen owners and managers in the North Central Region to learn more about what they are doing, how they self-identify, why they exist in that location and if they are successful.
Objective 2: Analyze the economic contribution of shared-use kitchens to sectors on the local economy using IMPLAN input/output economic modelling software. We proposed to survey kitchen owners and managers to learn more about where they spend money and how profitable they are to estimate how much they contribute to the local economy.
Objective 3: Engage regional kitchen owners to host tours for farmers, food businesses, technical assistance providers. We arranged three bus tours to nine kitchens in four states to offer peer to peer learning and a firsthand look at the operation and management of different models of shared-use kitchens.
Objective 4: Create a toolkit for those interested in assisting or starting a shared-use kitchen. We worked with The Food Corridor to write and publish a manual that will inform multiple audiences about shared-use kitchen development, management and sustainability.
Objective 5: Create videos to support ongoing learning for shared-use kitchens. We will create videos that will assist kitchen owners and managers in training their kitchen clientele. These videos will be geared toward best practices in ServSafe cleaning and sanitization of kitchens and the various foodstuffs.
APR18: Our educational approach was to engage clients one-on-one in tours and to hear from them about their insights on what they learned about shared-use kitchens. We also wanted a robust resource for the development and management of kitchens because nothing existed to date. Working with a new startup company, The Food Corridor, we were able to form a public-private partnership to create a comprehensive guide, written and edited by kitchen managers and experienced professionals in the field. The Food Corridor engages with more than 1000 kitchens through their website and facebook accounts, and this partnership has enabled this part of the education to be highly successful, useful and useable for many audiences.
Working with nine shared-kitchen hosts, we will engage Purdue Extension clients in three bus tours to nine kitchens in four states to learn from kitchen managers and owners and to see, firsthand, how and what a shared-use kitchen does for food businesses, farmers and markets in their area.
The Shared-Use Kitchen Toolkit, developed in partnership with The Food Corridor, will be a comprehensive and enduring guide for starting, managing and sustaining the operation of a shared-kitchen in a community. The first of its kind, this toolkit will be online and as a downloadable pdf for broad use.
Online videos will enhance the toolkit and provide critical visual information on best practices on food safety, cleaning and sanitizing a commercial kitchen.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Three tours to shared-use kitchens, each day-long trip visited three kitchens.
Illinois Trip: March 30, 2017
ArtHouse – Gary, IN – 2,200 sq. ft. urban kitchen housed in a facility that hosts community-building events and includes an art gallery/exhibition space.
River Forest Kitchen – River Forest, IL – 600 sq. ft. suburban kitchen with an outdoor greenhouse and garden. Offers food business consultation services, indoor and outdoor event space, and kids’ camps.
ETA’s Commercial Kitchen Rental – Highland Park, IL – 1,400 sq. ft. urban kitchen that provides essential kitchen basics for food entrepreneurs.
Michigan Trip: April 11, 2017
CookSpring – Fort Wayne, IN – 2400 sq. ft. urban kitchen located at The Summit, “a shared campus of socially-minded organizations working together to make the community thrive.”
Washtenaw Food Hub – Ann Arbor, MI – Rural food hub that houses a bakery kitchen and a commissary kitchen. A farm market and agricultural education event space are currently being added to the building.
Flint Food Works – Flint, MI – Urban kitchen co-located with the Flint Farmers’ Market, an indoor market facility that operates with 50+ vendors year round.
Kentucky Trip: April 28, 2017
Indy’s Kitchen – Indianapolis, IN – Urban kitchen equipped for catering and pastry preparation.
Incubator Kitchen Collective — Newport, KY — Kitchen collective that fosters a strong sense of community by hosting public events and connecting renters with local resources.
Chef Space – Louisville, KY – 11,000 sq. ft. kitchen space offering multiple specialized kitchens for hot, cold, and pastry prep.
In conjunction with our collaborators at The Food Corridor and Fruition Planning & Management, a 200 page toolkit to help launch, support and manage a shared-use kitchen is in the process of publication. Along with PDF will be an interactive online wiki, hosted by The Food Corridor.