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Shared space at Nourish Kitchen helps start local food businesses

The kitchen has started Nourish Market Booth at the Guelph Farmers' Market to feature prepared food from Nourish Kitchen members

Nourish Kitchen has flourished since its launch in September 2019 by giving small food businesses a place to start.

The initial vision for the shared kitchen at 10C is finally coming to fruition, said Nathan Lawr, community operations lead at 10C.

The idea of a shared kitchen or a ghost kitchen where multiple food businesses work out of the same space is relatively new for Guelph, he said.

At Nourish, the commercial grade kitchen can be booked by the hour or monthly through a packaged rate. 

What the shared kitchen concept allows people to do is start their food business without the expensive overhead costs. It makes it less financially intense and it's about $1,000 to get set up as a business through the kitchen.

Part of what Lawr is focused on for the future of the kitchen is to help members scale up their businesses. He likes to tell people at Nourish “I hope one day, we're too small for you.”

One of the newest things the kitchen has started is the Nourish Market Booth at the Guelph Farmers’ Market. The booth features rotating prepared food and other products from Nourish members.

Lawr plans to set up a pop-up at 10C so people can sell their food onsite.

There are about 15 regular users of the kitchen whose businesses include Piccolo Farm Organics, Ona’s Bakery, Rodolfo’s Rebel Foods and more. Since 2022, Nourish has supported 55 community food projects and enterprises.

Sara Bullard founded Lady Sara’s Bounty and has been with the kitchen since the start. She was a florist and left the industry to pursue something new. Her meal prep business provides rotating seasonal dishes for busy people who might not always have time to cook. 

Working in a shared kitchen has been fun for her.

“I feel like we all want each other to succeed. There’s no competition. It’s very welcoming. It’s a great place to work,” said .

Without the space at Nourish she wouldn’t be able to run her business otherwise.
It isn’t easy to be a restaurant owner these days especially with rising food prices. There is a lot of pressure and there are people struggling to find employment. “So they're striking out on their own,” said Lawr.

In many cases people will turn their hobbies, family recipes and skills into a food business of their own. Since the operating overhead like equipment and licenses from the city is already taken care of it’s “kind of a game changer in a lot of ways, because then you can just kind of get started. And our kitchen is designed to help people get started,” said Lawr.

An interesting part about a shared kitchen is it naturally allows for collaboration. Members socialize, make new friends and work on recipes together. 

One day Clement Kurnia who co-founded Tempeh Goodness and Pi Reyes, owner of Private Chef, worked together to create tempeh bacon. They went up and down 10C asking people what version of tempeh bacon they liked best.

Lawr wants to lean into this kind of collaboration more so people can experiment with food in a low stakes environment since it’s when the magic really happens.

Nourish started as a community resource and now is growing to become a food business incubator.