A small but passionate group of food-devoted residents gathered at a community engagement event last week to share ideas and plot out first steps towards a proposed community kitchen at 10 Carden’s latest expansion initiative at the old Acker’s Furniture building.
10 Carden (10C), a community hub that offers shared working space, recently purchased the building at 42 Carden Street and are in early planning stages to anchor the top floor with a certified commercial kitchen for shared community uses. The plan also includes a community classroom collaboration with the University of Guelph that will house their first official classes downtown, plus as an open concept area of over 1,000 square feet.
Co-founder Julia Grady is leading the 10C expansion project and says they’ve always seen a need for larger kitchen space that would service organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit realms. Recent conversations with members, many of whom work in the food industry or have a vested interest in it, uncovered a desire to incorporate more food into 10C’s space-based sharing culture.
“This new project lets us look at that through a collaborative and also entrepreneurial lens. Our hope is that the kitchen will not only add another type of space to the existing building, but will also help to enable a whole new generation of food entrepreneurship, as well as offer more food education through various agencies,” Grady says.
The proposed kitchen would also support a light food service café on the main floor, in-house catering and backing for new food-related enterprises including Innovation Guelph.
Facilitators at the informal information session presented a variety of exercises designed to get participant ideas flowing on everything from the design to what they would like to see the space used for.
Popular ideas on potential uses included public workshops, soup socials and dinner clubs, kitchen-supply rentals, a marketplace, bulk-meal preparation and a cold room for curing meats.
The space is contingent on funding and requires $100,000 in capital investments to complete fourth floor renovations, install an industrial grade range, HVAC system, dishwasher, refrigeration and the attached classroom space.
The group is still pursuing funding and grant possibilities to help cover the $3 million price tag on the building’s mortgage and necessary renovations required to make it fully accessible and up to code. More than half of the new space has already been sublet and occupancy is expected to begin in October.
“The Bank of Citizens has gotten us this far,” Grady says, attributing the $400,000 raised by selling ‘community bonds’ to help cover upstart costs.
An information pamphlet provided by 10C documents that over the last eight years, the group has been successful in building a sustainable revenue model based on co-working and space rental targeted toward Guelph’s not-for-profit community. The kitchen will enable further community involvement and generate more revenue as opportunities and demand continue to grow.
Often, all it takes is a handful to spark change and 10C is hopeful revenue will follow. Based on the ideas generated, a tangible action plan for next steps will be created and a proposal will be put forth to the community.
The end goal for the commercial kitchen is to become a learning and teaching space, as well as a functional asset designed to serve many organizations and community residents.
In much of the same way as it happens at home, Grady says, “At the end of the day, the kitchen will become the heart of 10 Carden.”