The Iowa Food Cooperative is working with several local small business owners to determine the feasibility of developing a shared-use commercial kitchen incubator facility in the greater Des Moines metropolitan area. This facility could be used by small businesses to add value to locally-produced foods, which in turn will stimulate business development and create local jobs.
“We’ve had inquiries from a wide range of people asking if there are licensed facilities they can use to process various foods for local markets,” says Iowa Food Cooperative General Manager Gary Huber. “Whenever you have lots of people asking for something, that’s evidence of a demand. But to know if it is feasible, we need to know more about their needs.”
An online survey is being used to gather information on the needs of potential tenants (www.surveymonkey.com/s/foodprocessing). To date 38 surveys have been completed, but organizers would like to double this number before beginning the next phase.
“We need more responses, “noted Karen Hegge, owner of Victoria’s Table, which produces artisan jams and jellies. “Once we have a good handle on who wants to use a facility for what purposes, we can start to match up this information with potential sites.”
Organizers will work over the next several months to further develop the concept. Anyone interested in learning more about the shared-use commercial kitchen incubator facility should contact Gary Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org.