by Maya Velesko
Forage and Blue Oven Kitchens have been working together and collaborating with our community to support and expand our local food system for over five years.
Their latest endeavor is no exception. The ambitious and exciting project – Working Food – will allow the organizations to combine forces and provide a physical hub for efforts at the intersection of Kitchens, Commerce, and Culture.
Working Food’s operation, referred to as a community food center, will support local farmers and food entrepreneurs, work to keep Florida food in state and reduce food waste, and support the creation of a robust, just, and resilient food system in North Central Florida.
The physical space will house several components, including:
A certified commercial kitchen incubator for food entrepreneurs that will help expand local business ownership and job creation for our region by giving businesses the tools and support to develop and scale up their products and/or services.
Cold and dry food storage and warehousing space that will provide existing and start-up businesses an answer to a critical bottleneck for expansion and local food utilization, and provide retail and institutions easier, less expensive access to local food products.
Event and workshop space and programming to increase food literacy, security, activity, and community cohesion by making connections between farmers, food businesses, and individual citizens.
The name ‘Working Food’ represents the core of their vision. By creating jobs, helping increase economic resilience through business ownership, teaching food skills to increase health and access, and by celebrating the culture, history, and foodways that make our region unique, we will “put food to work” for our community.
Join Working Food at the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 23 to show your support for this critical project and to stand up for local food and economic justice for our community.