$40,000 Grant Received to Initiate Feasibility Studies for a Community Kitchen Incubator
18 Dec 2018
Blog, Economic Development
Tehama County Economic Development is instrumental in the success of the community as a whole. The organization's latest accomplishment was being awarded a $40,000 grant to perform a feasibility study that could lead to the development of a kitchen incubator for the community.
If approved, the plan would result in the transformation of the Red Bluff Community Center kitchen into a kitchen incubator. This could create many exciting opportunities for the community and for anyone who has dreamed of owning their own business, but hasn’t been able to afford the cost of building out a commercial kitchen.
What is a kitchen incubator?
A kitchen incubator is a licensed commercial space designed help start ups find success by unleashing new opportunities of growth for local businesses and aspiring food entrepreneurs. The incubator offers a fully equipped and functioning shared commercial kitchen where businesses can produce food without having to expend large sums of money for facility rentals before they can afford it. It helps businesses “take off”, so to speak, as start up costs are lowered when a kitchen incubator is used. The program also provides business development training, mentoring and redirection that will educate start ups on shrewd business practices.
How will the plan become a reality?
Over the next few months, community surveys will be conducted to determine the level of the potential use of the facility. Several local businesses are already on board, including local business owner, Rachelle Gould of Field to Fork Tehama, LLC. Field to Fork is a family-owned multi-farm community-supported agriculture system that provides members with a weekly box filled with seasonal vegetables, fruit and protein.
Rachelle said, “Field to Fork Tehama, LLC is fully on board with the kitchen incubator and thinks it would be a great asset to our community. The first thing that comes to everyone's mind is that it can help people start new businesses.”
She continued, “Our main hope is to utilize this kitchen for more community based projects. The first would be to have cooking lessons with local foods. On average, 33% of produce is left on farms. We would like to replicate a program already in place in New Hampshire where a community kitchen is used to take the produce that is not sold to make freezer meals that can then be utilized throughout food banks as well as sold in stores.”
As the community joins together with the help of Tehama County Economic Development, the feasibility study will reflect a kitchen incubator having a positive contribution to the community and the project will materialize.
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants provide jobs for about one in 10 Americans and rank as the second-largest private-sector employer. Bringing more local restaurants to our community equals additional jobs for residents and an improved economy. A kitchen incubator will help achieve this goal.
Tehama County Economic Development already provides access to numerous workforce training programs, manufacturing initiatives, business incentive programs and many other invaluable resources that improve the community as a whole. With the incorporation of a kitchen incubator, countless training programs will be added, increasing the potential for the development of more successful local businesses and jobs in the community.
Amanda Jenkins, Job Development Coordinator of Tehama County Economic Development, encourages the development of a kitchen incubator saying, “Our community has the chance to foster an exciting food culture in Tehama County by supporting this project. A kitchen incubator will help reduce the barriers to business ownership that our food entrepreneurs are facing and with our strong agriculture community, it's the perfect opportunity to encourage collaboration between food growers and chefs.”
To work hand in hand with us in supporting the addition of a kitchen incubator, visit the Tehama County Economic Development website.