September 28, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kemptville Campus seeks public input on potential community kitchen facility
Kemptville Campus is looking for public input on a potential community kitchen facility. The proposed project would retrofit an existing campus building into a shared kitchen for rent to food businesses, farmers and community groups. The facility would offer multiple workstations and specialized equipment, licensed by Public Health for commercial food processing. The kitchen would also offer training and business incubation for small-scale food producers, residents of Leeds-Grenville and other rural communities.
“Our hope is to create an inclusive community space where new and growing food businesses and non-profits can access local, affordable kitchen amenities, and where entrepreneurs can learn and collaborate”, says Executive Director Liz Sutherland. If the project moves forward, the kitchen could also provide space for schools and community groups to host food programming such as cooking classes, food literacy education, and community meals.”
The supply chain disruptions of the pandemic and recent climate emergencies have highlighted the importance of local food ecosystems as essential to resilient communities. Moving in the direction of the sharing economy (think co-working and car sharing), a shared commercial kitchen is a cost-effective model to foster entrepreneurship and learning. By bringing food producers, processors and educators into a shared space and offering supports, the project would build skills and networks to grow our local food economy and increase food security.
Building on its long history as an agricultural and culinary college, Kemptville Campus seeks to contribute to our local agri-food system in new ways. Now operating as a not-for-profit, the Campus has a mandate to support education and learning, health and wellness, local economic development, and climate change resilience. A commercial kitchen would build on the success of a campus community garden established this year, and offer an outlet for food being grown in campus greenhouses by local producers.
The Ottawa-based Centre for Social Enterprise Development (CSED) is leading a feasibility study and business plan development to evaluate the proposed kitchen project. Financial support for this work is provided by Community Foundations of Canada through the Investment Readiness Program, funded by the Government of Canada's Social Innovation/Social Finance Strategy. At the renewal of the Investment Readiness Fund, the Honourable Karina Gould, (now former) Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, noted that “Our Government sees great potential in growing social innovation in our communities. More Canadian organizations and businesses are offering smart solutions to reduce poverty, reach social equality and fight climate change. The Investment Readiness Program will help them scale up and become investment-ready, so that they can create impacts for Canadians for years to come.”
An in-person consultation will be held on Monday, October 16th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the WB George Centre (48 Shearer St.) on campus.
For more information, please contact Leela Ramachandran, Project Manager for Training and Local Food at LRamachandran@kemptvillecampus.ca.
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Kemptville Campus is a place to gather, work, grow, play, and belong – for North Grenville and Eastern Ontario more broadly. Our mission as an education and community centre is built on three pillars: education and learning, health and wellness, and economic development, supported by an overarching theme of climate change resiliency. Find us online at https://www.kemptvillecampus.ca/
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