There are a variety of ways to expand your reach in the community through the Livingston Food Resource Center, from renting the Community Kitchen to develop a food business, to renting the Community Room for a meeting to growing vegetables in the Community Garden. Click on the headings below to learn more about these opportunities.
The Community Commercial Kitchen is a licensed, food processing, catering, and meal preparation facility. The Shared Use Community Kitchen is designed and equipped to provide the tools and support needed by local farmers, caterers, entrepreneurs, and small-scale food processors to engage in new product development and processing. The Community Kitchen is used by multiple and diverse users at scheduled times throughout the day and week. It provides users with access, on a time-share basis, to a licensed production facility that enables them to start and expand food production and catering businesses without the prohibitively high costs of creating their own commercial kitchens. The hourly cost for using the Community Kitchen is $12.00 for entrepreneurs through their start up and development phase, and $15.00 for established businesses.
The Community Kitchen provides assistance to entrepreneurs and existing food businesses for the development, testing, processing, marketing of value-added food products, and an interest-free micro loan program. The resulting increase in local value-added food processing accomplishes the following:
- Farmers and ranchers have alternative, non-commodity outlets for their crops
- Growers are connected with local food entrepreneurs who want to convert their crops into value-added food products
- Agricultural dollars are retained in the local economy
- Locally grown and processed food is more readily available to all people.
The Community Kitchen also plays a valuable role as a class room. Specific courses are being developed to provide the training and experience necessary to prepare participants for careers in the field of food service. There is a strong, local demand for cooks and food service workers. In 2012, 17% of the more than 700 job listings published by the Livingston Job Service Center were for restaurant cooks and other food service positions. Additional educational opportunities are offered for community organizations, clubs and individuals. These classes include: ServSafe certification for restaurant employees and managers; nutrition and cooking; non-commercial preservation for home use; and food selection and menu planning.
The LFRC’s Community Commercial Kitchen benefits Livingston and Park County in many important ways:
- The Community Kitchen provides a critical component necessary to support increased local food production, processing, and distribution. It helps make fresh, healthful, local food available to more people in Livingston and Park County – regardless of their economic status.
- The Community Kitchen supports educational programs for local families and organizations on how to access and best use the products of a local food system.
- The Community Kitchen enables The Livingston Food Pantry to process and preserve locally grown produce for distribution to Pantry clients, year round. As a result, the Pantry is able to reduce its food acquisition costs.
- The Community Kitchen enables area institutions and service organizations to process local, healthful foods for use in their programs.
- The Community Commercial Kitchen promotes economic development that supports locally owned food production, processing and distribution.
- The Community Kitchen provides a licensed facility in which entrepreneurs can test, develop, and produce new food products, thereby creating new job opportunities that follow successful small-business start ups and growth.
- The Community Kitchen provides a licensed facility in which established small food businesses can expand production and reduce operating costs, thereby enabling them to reinvest in market growth and the creation of new jobs.
- The Community Kitchen provides the venue and necessary resources to conduct classes, which could be taught by MSU Extension Agents, Gallatin College staff, local chefs, and other food service professionals to provide the education and experience necessary to successfully pursue employment in the field of food service.
The Community Room supports a wide array of Food Resource Center and community functions. The Community Room is used for meetings, classes, meal service, and community events.
The Community Room is available for rent on an hourly basis. The rental fee is $25.00 per hour and includes the use of tables and chairs.
The Community Kitchen can be rented in conjunction with the Community Room for an additional $20.00.
The LFRC started the Community Garden in the summer of 2010 to provide a gathering place where local people can grow fresh produce for themselves and their families. Through collaboration with other Livingston service agencies, garden space is made available to Counterpoint, L’Esprit, the Girl Scouts and other groups, families and individuals so that they can enjoy the benefits of gardening. Plots are assigned in early April. Call the LFRC if you’re interested in learning more.