Visiting La Cocina: cultivating food entrepreneurs
While in San Francisco, I visited La Cocina, a fantastic incubator for new food enterprises in the city and I project I have wanted to visit for years. It describes its mission as being "to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape".
It is a great model, replicable in a Transition setting too, for bringing diverse communities into the creation of new food-based social enterprises. I was particularly interested in the role that something like it could play in the Atmos Totnes project. I was shown around by Michelle Fernandez, who very kindly explained how the whole project works. I also made this short film which hopefully gives a sense of it:
Thanks to Michelle for her time showing us round, and to the other people I spoke to too, including the woman whose film I couldn't use due to the noise from the adjoining food blender that was going at the time!