HOW WE DO IT:
1. By providing top-of-the-line equipment, multiple cooking stations, secured food storage and food truck terminals (physical)
2. By providing a comprehensive-assistance program-tailored for small business food entrepreneurs. (intellectual)
3. By providing access to locally/sustainably sourced fresh produce, meats and grains, etc.—(connecting food entrepreneurs to their local food system)
4. By providing the support and efficiency of a scalable, collaborative community (membership-benefits/co-op structure)
COMMERCIAL KITCHEN SPACE & INCUBATOR PROGRAM
In terms of the urban community, the incubator kitchen provides a space for local food talent to express their culinary art while receiving business development support. These small-scale food entrepreneurs strengthen their regional food system, increase access to high-value foods for all individuals of their community, and spur economic development within their community. The incubator program provides affordable access to specialized services by sharing costs across members. These services include: business development training, culinary coaching, creative design services, marketing, legal counseling and financial services.
Mobile food and market trucks are one primary distribution mechanism for the kitchen members. Food trucks offer an excellent retail outlet for a relatively low capital investment. Although many people talk of using food trucks to address issues of food desserts and food access, few businesses actually cater to these markets. By building/establishing cooperative distribution mechanisms, there will be direct incentive for community kitchen members to target low-income, low access areas (including their own communities).BUILDING A REGIONAL FOOD MARKETPLACE
In order to supply both kitchen customers and other local food purchasers with fresh, locally sourced goods, the kitchen includes a centralized warehouse to aggregate and store food for distribution to the local market. Through an innovative marketplace structure, the kitchen offers farmers bulk purchasing guarantees for deeply discounted high-quality foods that farmers might otherwise have difficult selling (ex. farmers market leftovers, glean crops, less-desired cuts of meat, etc.). By also providing advance payment on bulk orders, we decrease financial risks for the farmers and reduce food waste. We are currently looking to partner directly with an organization working to establish regional food hubs as there is clear opportunity for valuable co-creation in this space.
BUSINESS MODEL DEVELOPMENT
Overall, this model draws on the progressive work sprouting up across the country in the areas of: supporting local/family farms, establishing regional food hubs, and utilizing mobile food distribution methods. Drawing on a number of incredible inspirations (including DC Central Kitchen, La Cocina, San Francisco Foodshed Project, and SF Foodcart Project) this model takes things one step further by creating a community driven, but closed loop system that simultaneously creates both the supply and demand needed for it to be sustainable. In the long term, the vision is to create a model that is highly scalable such that the system expands beyond a single community and becomes an efficient, high-volume network of connected local-food systems.