The Northside Planning Council undertakes an innovative approach to community and economic development with the construction of a new facility that provides multiple kitchen spaces, a produce processing area and a training kitchen. The FEED Kitchens allow area entrepreneurs to avoid the overwhelming start-up costs (renting and renovating a facility and outfitting it with equipment can easily cost $15,000) that have kept so many from attempting to get their products to market.
The project received initial funding from the Federal Community Development Block Grant, but still had to borrow in order to approach the $1.4 million total project cost. “FCI was recommended as a lender that would understand the nature of the project and work with a nonprofit to provide a loan if the business plan was sound”, says Ellen Barnard, coordinator of the project. This loan is another example of the power of flexible, affordable financing that CDFIs like FCI can deliver. “While there were commercial banks that were interested, they had a hard time understanding the nature of an incubator, and were not comfortable lending without a personal guarantee somewhere in the process”, says Bernard.
24 jobs will be created as a result of the Kitchens, with jobs varying from the facility manager and a processing team for co-packing and processing for local farmers, to employees that users of the kitchens add to their staff as they increase their business capacity.
Learn more about the FEED Kitchens.