UPDATE: As of 5/25, over $10,000 has been donated to FEED Kitchens by Owners; this amount will be matched by the Co-op, and join an earlier $10,000 we donated, for over $30,000 total in donations!
As a way to continue supporting the growth and sustainability of the Madison area local food movement, Willy Street Co-op is partnering with the FEED Kitchens Project, a food business incubator and small-scale processing facility being built by the Northside Planning Council in Madison. To support this project and ensure their success, in December the Co-op’s Board of Directors approved a gift of $10,000 to assist in the purchase of FEED’s kitchen equipment (freezer, processors, packaging). Additionally, until June 16th, for every $1.00 donated to the FEED project at the registers by our Owners and other shoppers, Willy Street Co-op will match it dollar for dollar up to another $10,000. Willy Street Co-op has also committed to a long-term ongoing strategic partnership with FEED to help food entrepreneurs be successful in bringing new local vendors/products into the Co-op.
FEED’s mission resonates with our Co-op’s mission, and we believe more local food could be made available, but our region’s infrastructure still lacks the resources the FEED Kitchens will provide. To further assist in bringing more local products into the Co-op and onto your plate, Owners will have an option to donate their patronage refund store credit, or make a general donation at the register from January 22nd through June 16th, 2013.
The FEED team is nearing their goal of raising a total of $1,400,000, but still needs help to raise the final $125,000 to equip the kitchen. We encourage everyone to consider donating any amount toward the FEED Project’s final goal to complete the project. FEED will break ground on the property of Northgate Mall on March 1st, 2013 and plans to open its doors in August 2013. We need those of you who are passionate about local food, economic opportunity, and healthy eating to help us meet their goal so that all of us can enjoy the fruits of this labor of love.
This five-kitchen facility will be available for hourly rental, offering opportunities for food entrepreneurs whose ideas for new food-based businesses have been thwarted by the difficulty of securing commercial kitchen space. Fifty-plus individuals are on a waiting list to realize their dreams of bringing new food products and businesses to market.
Farmers from the region will use a co-packing service to process surplus produce into value-added products, reducing waste and extending their selling seasons like at farmers’ markets and the Co-op.
The kitchens will be also be available to groups that want to prepare food for events and fundraisers, to those offering cooking classes, and to gardeners for canning their harvests.
This will be a place where the goal of encouraging more people to create and eat more local food will begin. It also improves the economic outlook for Madison, locating in a neighborhood that has one of the highest rates of poverty. Many of the users of this facility will be low-to-moderate income, under-, or unemployed. It is expected that the FEED Kitchens will serve 120-150 small food businesses and individual entrepreneurs per year and generate 25-35 new full time jobs yearly.
How else can you help?
Attend one of FEED’s events: Eat for Equity on January 26th, eat at Graze Restaurant, become a part of the Crowdfunding campaign that runs through January 6th. Help FEED make its goal of $35,000 or more for our campaign! Find the link on feedkitchens.org. Attend the Graze Beer Dinner Sunday March 17th from 6:30–9:00 p.m. Advance tickets required.
Or to make a larger donation, please contact the FEED organizers directly. To get details on these and other opportunities, go to www.feedkitchens.org for more information. Sign up for their email newsletter while you’re there, and you’ll be invited to more events and the Grand Opening (we promise, no spam!). Want more information? Contact Ellen Barnard, Project Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.