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Frenchtown’s KitchenShare Wins $548,000 to Support Local Food Entrepreneurs

TALLAHASSEE, FL – KitchenShare @ Heritage Hub has been awarded $500,000 from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program and $48,000 from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida. The public and private awards will support the development of a commercial kitchen rental facility and food business incubator program to be housed at Frenchtown Heritage Hub.

Heritage Hub is home to the Frenchtown Farmers Market, begun by Frenchtown leaders to improve access to healthy food and economic opportunity in the neighborhood. The KitchenShare program advances both of those goals, enhancing the potential of minority entrepreneurship while supporting growth of the local food system.

“There has been a dramatic increase in consumer demand for buying local,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This latest round of grants will expand the capacity of farmers and businesses to serve this growing market, help revitalize local economies, and support efforts around the country to provide fresh, healthy food to all Americans.”

Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association (FNIA), the parent nonprofit of Heritage Hub, is a two-time recipient of USDA funding. The first award, $100,000, was granted in 2015 to expand the farmers market. The City of Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) purchased property on behalf of the FNIA project, enabling the expansion.

“We are now able to develop local and regional food businesses, and new market opportunities,” said FNIA Executive Director Jim Bellamy.

The KitchenShare funding announcement comes during Big Bend Minority Enterprise Development Week, a fitting backdrop for Bellamy’s vision of neighborhood revitalization. With over $400 billion in annual revenues, according to the National Minority Supplier Development Council, as cited in Growthology earlier this year, minority enterprise “can create jobs and revitalize distressed communities.”

Author of the article for the Kauffman Foundation publication, Melissa Bradley directs the Kogod Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative at American University in Washington, DC. Bradley calls investment in minority business an “economic imperative.”

KitchenShare represents a significant investment in minority entrepreneurs. The incubator program will offer product development mentorship and branding support. The plan also boasts state-of-the-art technology in scheduling, sales tracking, and development of supply chain relationships among local farmers, bakers, and buyers. The tech innovators at Domi Station will partner on the project.

“Entrepreneurship is a force for community development,” said Lucas Lindsey, executive director of Domi Station. “Whether they’re working in technology or using technology to sell food products to new markets, it’s important we build a community of support around Tallahassee’s makers and creators.”

One of those creators, Shacafrica Simmons, has been developing local food knowledge across the region, teaching the art of healthy and flavorful food. A native of South Florida, the businesswoman came to Tallahassee with the dream of launching a kitchen incubator and helping others develop their talents. Chef Shac, as she is known to her clients and fans, is a partner on the project as well.

“Food-based business incubation is the key to economic growth for many in this community,” said Simmons. “I look forward to passing on my knowledge about the food and hospitality industry to the entrepreneurs who will plant the seeds of their companies right here at KitchenShare.”

With the growth projected in the hospitality industry for the Tallahassee area, and the need for culinary talent, KitchenShare is poised to make substantial impact on the local economy. KitchenShare will be the only commercial kitchen rental facility in 100 miles, curing a crippling void in local food processing capacity.

Open to all, yet targeting those underrepresented in business ownership, KitchenShare presents opportunity for economic advancement among women, people of color, veterans, and youth. The incubator supports will fill a gap in existing business services for the launch of microenterprise.

Some critical components of the KitchenShare concept, like branding and web development, were made possible through funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The award from the Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida filled a gap in the USDA funding that disallowed marketing of specific brands. The recent award builds on a planning grant FNIA received last year from Knight for the KitchenShare program.

“Knight Foundation supports innovative programs that enhance opportunity by building inclusive pathways to economic prosperity,” said Joy Watkins, President & CEO of the Community Foundation of North Florida, conduit for Knight Foundation’s support in Tallahassee. “Frenchtown’s KitchenShare program fits that bill.”

The USDA and Knight Foundation awards bring the project contributions by FNIA to more than $750,000. The money is in addition to $500,000 in public dollars that the CRA has committed. Nearly three years after joining the Frenchtown project as a “catalyst” with Knight Creative Communities Institute, Heritage Hub Director Michelle Gomez looks back on those early discussions with a smile.

“A member of our project team said it would cost $1.3 million to do what we we’re dreaming. It seemed an insurmountable sum, but we did it. We did it.” said Gomez. “Now the real work begins.”

A Hearty Healthy Happy Father’s Day from Frenchtown Farmers Market

Throughout the years we purchase many gifts for our loved ones and typically these gifts are forgotten or tucked away in boxes. This year lets make things much more exciting for Dads, as Father’s Day is just a week away. With this in-mind we invite you to spend a few hours exploring the irreplaceable activities available at Frenchtown Farmers Market this month. As the market continues to positively impact our local community, by providing opportunities for local farmers, artists, musicians, chefs and varying businesses, it will be a fun filled month for you and your dear ol’ dad.

So this year, cast the suites, colognes, and ties aside and head over to Frenchtown Farmers Market where you’ll find great gifts for dad. Participating in one of the activities which will create a memory for a lifetime! Let’s take a look at this months activities:

  1. DIY Dad Gifts Market On June 11th the market has teamed up with Sweet Face Handmade Bath & Body Fusions, a local family business providing natural bath and body care for everyone! They offer a variety of natural products that nourish the skin which include cleanse, sooth, moisturize, relax, and exfoliate. This Saturday you’ll be able to make a free lemon body scrub for your dad or you can make this gift with your dad; regardless he’ll love this one of a kind gift!Lemon Chutney
  1. Second Saturday Every Second Saturday of the month Frenchtown hosts Open Mic. While browsing the park spectators are able to enjoy the melodies of local musicians, spoken word artists, and comedians as they grace the stage with their unique skills. Everyone is invited to share their family-friendly talents from 12pm-2pm.OpenMic
  1. Dad Cooks! Market – Interested in a few new recipes for dad or a couple ideas on what to cook on Fathers day? Marvin Stokes, a farmhand for Deacon Ed Duffy, will be performing a live cooking demonstration on June 18th for all of our foodies! Marvin is a cook by trade and enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gained throughout the years with others. He has a college student starter cookbook with over 300 recipes that will make even the most novice of cooks seem like a world class chief.Veggie Stand
  1. DIY Fresh Market – An innovative way to have fresh produce available for your family will be presented by iGrow Bucket. On June 25th Ed Toussaint will be demonstrating the techniques used to have these fresh veggies at your fingertips. iGrow bucket is a self watering system used to grow a variety of veggies and is made of a few 5 gallon buckets and a pvc tube. You can build this yourself or it can be purchased from iGrow. I’m sure dad or the entire family would absolutely love this as they’re spending a fraction of the cost for the same great veggies!

As you’re contemplating the next best gift for dad we’ve got you covered! So many activities and all in one month. We’re sure dad will stay busy at Frenchtown Farmers Market. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there, from us to you- Happy Father’s Day Dads!

Frenchtown Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9am to 2pm at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Eat Fresh, Eat Local and Grow Community!

Farmers Market Minestrone

This minestrone is full of nutrients and it’s delicious! Adding barley into the soup adds a lot of body and turns your soup into a full meal, but it can be omitted if you’re not a fan. It is a great source of dietary fiber and contains several vitamins and minerals including niacin, thiamine, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. It is not gluten-free but it is cholesterol free and low in fat.

Fall Minestrone

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 11 cups

Fall Minestrone

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cup green cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ½ pound green and yellow beans

Instructions

  1. 1. Heat 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add barley and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer barley to small bowl; set aside.
  2. 2. In same Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, and onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in barley, water, broth, tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 25 minutes.
  3. 3. Stir zucchini and beans into barley mixture; increase heat to medium and cook, covered, 10 to 15 minutes longer or until all vegetables and barley are tender.

This Week at the Frenchtown Market (8/1/2015)

FRENCHTOWN HERITAGE MARKETPLACE
SATURDAYS 9AM TO 1PM
CORNER OF GEORGIA & MACOMB

THIS SATURDAY
August starts on Saturday! Um…that can’t be right…Catch summer in a bottle with sweet, nutritious and versatile Frenchtown Beez honey. “Sweetest honey in the ‘hood, baby!”

Muscadines are mighty fine, fresh burst of Florida on the tongue. Come get some from Dr. Hamilton. He’s the man with the amazing-sweet, yellow-meat watermelon.

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Savor the end-of-summer cookouts with the best-tasting smoked sausage this side of any river. Limestone is local (Wacissa), fourth generation gettin’ it right. You’re just not grillin’ without it!

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We love it when our vendors work together, and you harvest the rewards! Williams Gourmet and Marie’s Jelly have teamed up for some delicious new morning traditions. Get your jelly muffins only at the Frenchtown market!

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William’s Gourmet and Marie’s have more, but you’ll have to come see for yourself. We will give you a little hint…the lemon coconut cookies will not last! Gluten-free granola and what else, what else?? Get some!

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The farmers are toiling in the hot sun to bring the taste of a lovingly-tended field to your table and your tummy. Marvin’s Garden, Sanguon’s Organics and the iGrow Crew have all the peppers, onions, corn, okra, field peas, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, wild mushrooms and sweet potatoes you can shake some sea salt at. Saturday is the day, but keep drooling!

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While you’re at it, show some love and pick up a t-shirt. iGrow Whatever You Like is a program of the Tallahassee Food Network and those kids are doing important work. Celebrate them!

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EXPANDING FRESH FOOD ACCESS
The Frenchtown farmers market accepts SNAP/EBT and is the only place in town that can double your SNAP dollars (food stamps) to buy the fresh produce mentioned above. Come by the market and ask us how it works! Our vendors also accept WIC vouchers.
Beginning August 8th, we’re launching a three-part consumer workshop series that promotes purchase of local produce and health education. The one-hour workshops will also touch on how to use the market’s incentive programs. Classes are free! In fact, you get paid to come!
So, if you get SNAP assistance or know someone who does, hit us up on Facebook, the website or by email for more information.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
The Frenchtown market is going back to school on Saturday, August 15th! Come see us for School Night Solutions, dinner ideas with recipes that are on the table in 30 minutes or less. We’ll also have a Student Snack Station, samples of easy and healthy snacks that are good to your brain and your body. Kids activities, raffle prizes, music and more! Join us in saying hello to a great school year full of fresh food, sharp minds and happy bellies.
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There’s still time to register as a vendor for Frenchtown Heritage Fest 2015! There’s even still time to sign up as an event sponsor. Help us fill up Georgia street with celebration. Find vendor and sponsor packets on the website. Entertainers! We want to hear from you too. Come join the party! Frenchtown Heritage Fest 2015 will happen on Saturday, October 3rd on West Georgia Street. Mark your calendars!
COMMUNITY MATTERS
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you like and what you want to see at your farmers market. Follow us on Facebook, and join us every Saturday to Grow Community 🙂
FHM logo_image only_feb2015

This Saturday at the Frenchtown Market (7/25/15)

SATURDAY 7/25 FROM 9AM TO 1PM @ GEORGIA & MACOMB
Were you quick enough to catch Mr. Nelson, the mullet man, at the market last week? If the fishing is good, we’ll see him again this Saturday. Fresh fish is a lovely dish with sauteed peppers, onions and tomato…a little corn on the cob on the side…Sanguon’s Organics, Marvin’s Garden and iGrow Whatever You Like have the freshest, local veggies. You are what you eat, so choose wisely!
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We honor the sweet tooth too – local honey from Frenchtown Beez and Deacon Duffee’s cane syrup are market staples. You never know what surprises Marie’s Jam & Jelly will have jarred up. Find a new favorite taste adventure! William’s Gourmet is knocking us out with red velvet pound cake and special yummies for your gluten-free and vegan family members. These vendors are exclusive to Heritage Marketplace – you’ll only find this flavor in Frenchtown, folks!
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Visit ASH Gallery and the historic Taylor House just down Georgia street. Swing back through the market and pick up some smoked pork chops and bacon from local favorite Limestone Meathouse. Chef Shac is always cooking up something delicious and you can cool down with her beautiful iced tea blends.
FHM3
EXPANDING FRESH FOOD ACCESS
The Frenchtown farmers market accepts SNAP/EBT and is the only place in town that can double your SNAP dollars (food stamps) to buy the fresh produce mentioned above. Come by the market and ask us how it works! Our vendors also accept WIC vouchers.
IMG_8043
We’re launching a three-part consumer workshop series that promotes purchase of local produce and health education. The one-hour workshops will also touch on how to use the market’s incentive programs. Classes are free! In fact, you get paid to come! So, if you get SNAP assistance or know someone who does, hit us up on Facebook, the website or by email for more information.
COMMUNITY MATTERS
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you like and what you want to see at your farmers market. Follow us on Facebook, and join us every Saturday to Grow Community 🙂
FHF2015_SavetheDate
There’s still time to register as a vendor for Frenchtown Heritage Fest 2015! There’s even still time to sign up as an event sponsor. Help us fill up Georgia street with celebration. Find vendor and sponsor packets on the website. Entertainers! We want to hear from you too. Come join the party! Frenchtown Heritage Fest 2015 will happen on Saturday, October 3rd on West Georgia Street. Mark your calendars!

Ride Sharing for Food Access

(Sent to municipal leadership 6/17/2015)
Dear Mayor Gillum & City Commissioners,

While we were unable to attend Wednesday’s hearing to consider an ordinance on transportation services, we’d like to offer a perspective that may not have been voiced at the meeting.

Affordable ride sharing is fast becoming an expected element of any 21st century metropolis, and certainly a capital city. It is likely a necessary service for the safety of Tallahassee’s college students needing to get home after a night of too much fun and the residents they might encounter on the way. These concepts we’re sure you heard.

Affordable ride sharing also holds potential for expanding fresh food access among residents without personal transportation who do not live in walking distance to beneficial options for food retail (something other than a fast food restaurant or convenience store). Such is the situation for many residents in neighborhoods predominately of color. Tallahassee’s southern and western neighborhoods are USDA-designated food deserts. Central and northern pockets of the city also carry a secondary level of that designation.

The Frenchtown market was started to address food access issues while providing low-barrier market entry to encourage entrepreneurship. Toward that end, the market is the only one in the area to have centralized EBT access and a SNAP match program. More than 40,000 people in Leon County receive SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps). With an easier, affordable way to access the Frenchtown market, they could double those benefits, significantly expanding their food budgets and capability to purchase fresh food.

The volume of SNAP expenditures for Leon County represents more than $65 million annually, a small fraction of which would be a boon to the local farmers and entrepreneurs who vend at the Frenchtown market. Currently, the vast majority of that money gets spent at chain stores and leaves our city’s economy, rather than continuing to circulate locally the way it would if spent at the farmers market.

While the bus is an option for getting to the grocery store or farmers market, coming home on the bus with arms full of grocery bags – or taking the bus to multiple food shopping locations – is an impractical experience. Taxis are often too expensive to serve the need.

For these reasons, Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace (FHM) is looking into transportation support for area residents who could benefit from the SNAP access and SNAP match program offered by the farmers market. Ride sharing platforms, like Uber, present a viable option.

Additionally, Uber’s business model provides income potential for residents with personal transportation that taxi services cannot offer. In fact, one resident of a local public housing community who participated as a researcher on our current USDA grant project is an Uber driver. The platform presents interesting possibilities for peer relationships that support food access in low income neighborhoods.

Please consider moving Tallahassee forward, expanding options for residents rather than limiting them. Ride sharing services hold potential that we have yet to explore. They could have a significant impact on elements of livability for the city, like personal health, that have likely not been considered. Resist any pressure to regulate us into the past and exclude us from innovation.

Let’s see what this thing can do. Thank you for your consideration.