An Economic Development Strategy:

 Shared Use Commercial Kitchens

·        What is a Shared Use Kitchen? A licensed kitchen facility providing small scale food entrepreneurs the space to prepare and process value-added food for consumer marketing. Most facilities also provide training, support and access to other resources and distribution networks.

·        What is Threshold to Maine Working on? At least 5 community based projects are operating or underway.  Additionally, co-packers and other organizations are part of this movement.  These are also listed. 

Fairbanks School Shared Use Kitchen, Farmington (Fact Sheet)

York County Community Kitchen, Saco (Fact Sheet)

Pemberton's Gourmet Foods - A Specialty Food Business and Co-packer

The Prep Kitchen - A Specialty Food Business and Shared Facility

Public Market House - Specialty Foods in Downtown Portland and a Shared  Kitchen

·        How can Shared Use Kitchen’s help Maine’s Economy? The food sector was one of the industry clusters recognized in the Brookings Report as one of Maine’s competitive industries. In addition, 

o       Specialty food segment of the retail food industry if fastest growth segment

o       Research supports shared use kitchen facilities’ effectiveness in meeting the needs of rural producers

o       Concerns about food security and increased interest in ‘buy local’ calls for closer connections among farmers, producers and consumers 

·        Who would use Shared Use Kitchen Facilities?  Farmers, fishermen, food entrepreneurs who may be low to moderate income, lack the resources to invest in their own production facility, who are looking to test new products, expand production and market reach, and create jobs. Shared Use Kitchens can be the first step towards co-packing and larger scale production capacity. 

·        What is in a Shared Use Kitchen Facility? While exact contents may differ by facility, equipment can include: commercial ovens, ranges, mixers, kettles, industrial food processors, refrigerators, freezers, dry storage, sinks, among other equipment.

Threshold To Maine is actively involved with the development of Shared Use Commercial Kitchens.  We provide technical assistance to communities, groups, or individuals that are looking to develop a kitchen project.  Please contact us for more information at  council@thresholdtomaine.org

 

For More Information, you may download the following information

Shared Use Kitchen Coalition Fact Sheet

Kitchen Coalition Talking Points

From Recipe To Market Frequently Asked Questions

Kitchen Project Checklist

Maine Regulatory Information

Shared Use Kitchen Documents Packet
 

For information on the current Farm Bill please visit the Farm and Food Policy Website.

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