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Community Kitchens, Incubators and Accelerators

A "tour" of successful shared kitchen models.


Value-added food production has great potential for communities as well as individual entrepreneurs, in part, because food production can be profitable even at rather small scales. One key to smaller scale production success is shared equipment and space. 

There are many great examples of organizations that support food entrepreneurs begin, and find success, in their operations. In this webinar we bring two fabulous more-traditional examples to the fore: La Cocina in San Francisco and Union Kitchen in Washington, DC. You will hear the great impacts of these operations, as well as some of challenges, and details of actually running an incubator. 

We will also hear from The Food Corridor, a virtual food hub that connects food entrepreneurs to commercial kitchen space. The Food Corridor also oversees a community of practice of shared-use kitchens, and has created a useful Shared Kitchen Toolkit, a free guide to starting a new shared-use or incubator kitchen and managing the operations of it. 

Join us for a whirlwind tour of wealth creation and sovereignty through food!




Presenter Bios

Ashley Colpaart

Ashley ColpaartAshley Colpaart is the co-founder and CEO of The Food Corridor, a virtual food hub that connects food entrepreneurs to commercial kitchen space. Their mission is to enable efficiency, growth and innovation in local food. She is also the founder of the Network for Incubator and Commissary Kitchens or “NICK”, a community of practice that supports the food industry through sharing data, best practices, and technical assistance to build and grow successful shared-use kitchens businesses.

Ashley has a PhD in in Interdisciplinary Studies in Food Science and Food Safety from Colorado State University and is a Registered Dietitian. She earned a Master of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and was previously the Northern Colorado Food Cluster coordinator in her home of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Leticia Landa

Leticia LandaLeticia learned about La Cocina by reading a newspaper article when she was in college studying Anthropology at Harvard. At a holiday party, she happened to meet Valeria, the then-Executive Director and was soon hired to be the third person on La Cocina's staff. Throughout her career at La Cocina, Leticia has relied on her experience being the daughter of Mexican immigrants who came to the US and started a business to fuel her strong belief that business ownership can be transformative, particularly for women, immigrants and people of color. Now Deputy Director of La Cocina, Leticia has worn almost every hat at the organization over the last decade: writing grants, developing the incubator program, working directly with business owners, managing volunteers, consulting with other incubators, and providing vision and strategy for the organization's tremendous growth which has led to national recognition and now 12 full time staff. She currently oversees the Incubator Program, the Retail Program, Development and Communications and Strategic Projects including co-writing The La Cocina Cookbook which will come out in 2019. 

Andrew Varnum

Andrew VarnumAndrew Varnum is the Executive Vice President at DC-based food and beverages for-profit accelerator, Union Kitchen. He brings over 10 years of experience in client relationship management, operations management and strategy consulting. He has built capacity in the public, private, and social sectors using strong facilitation and analytics skills, as well as strategy development capabilities. He has extensive experience in team management, strategic planning, scenario planning, visioning, benchmarking, and investment promotion.

Andrew holds a Master’s Degree in International Trade and Investment Policy with a focus on International Business from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Romance Languages from Dartmouth College.

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