Last year ShareKitchen began to explore the idea of an expanded facility that would offer our local small businesses a larger, more extensive operating space with room to grow from micro-enterprises into SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises). We worked for a year on a feasibility study in conjunction with Food Spectrum and the founder of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, a mid-scale food processing and incubation program in Camden, New Jersey. Over the course of the year we evaluated the needs of local and regional small food businesses, farmers, our community and our available resources and discovered that the Food Innovation Center model at Rutgers University would be a great value to the Coachella Valley and would allow us to offer a wider scope of opportunities than we had ever imagined.
Tricia Gehrlein of the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative saw the great impact this project will have on the health of our community in the Coachella Valley and introduced ShareKitchen to the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Group. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) was founded in 1936 as a nonprofit institute to conduct research and provide information on all aspects of real estate development and land use policy. The ULI YLG chose our project from a collection of projects across the region for their annual pro-bono Technical Assistance Program support grant. A diverse group of Young Leaders from the ULI’s Orange County and Inland Empire Chapter presented their findings on Friday, January 9th at Coachella’s City Hall to a stand-up only group of community members and civic leaders.
ShareKitchen will be devoting the next several weeks to sharing more information and details about this exciting project, our progress and its great benefits to the wellness of our community – “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShareKitchen to stay connected and join the conversation!