New Initiative to Gage Interest in Shared Community Kitchen Space in Rochester

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In the wake of the food truck and specialty food movements, another movement is growing.  The past four years have seen an increase in the number of kitchen incubators in the U.S.  Kitchen incubators are shared use commercial kitchen spaces that are rented out on an hourly or monthly basis to food entrepreneurs.  They may or may not include other support services for new businesses such as food safety education, technical assistance, and office space.  For one Minnesotan example, Midwest Pantry just recently unveiled their plans for a building in the St. Anthony neighborhood of Minneapolis that includes six commercial kitchen spaces and additional office space.

With the passage of Rochester's food truck ordinance and growing farmer's market, Rochester is poised on the verge of a local food renaissance.  A shared commercial kitchen space could be the key for a new entrepreneur to finally sell their grandmother's famous lefse or host their first pop up dinner.  In addition to increased food diversity, communities have also benefited from a shared commercial kitchen through food literacy programs, cooking classes, and training for at risk youth.  Successful businesses "graduate" from the incubator to opening their own space which contributes to the local economy.  Local farmers could reduce their food waste through using the kitchen to freeze or can their unsold produce.

In order for a shared commercial kitchen facility to become a reality in Rochester, general interest in its usage needs to be measured.  Any interested food entrepreneurs should fill out the survey located here.