TPSS Kitchen Awarded USDA Community Food Projects Grant

We love sharing good news from our kitchen community! Recently, TPSS Kitchen in Takoma Park, MD received a prestigious USDA Community Food Project grant. Funding a kitchen can be daunting and expensive. From programming to equipment to land and facilities; low or no-cost funds are a critical component of gaining a sustainable financial path forward. Read on to learn how TPSS Kitchen earned this grant and what they’ll be doing with the resources.

TPSS Kitchen: Takoma Park, MD:
Our brand-new shared-use kitchen is designed to meet the needs of small-scale food entrepreneurs, many of whom are low-income. As a small organization, we did not have the capacity to design and build our own systems for scheduling time in the kitchen, and billing according to our different rates (we have a scholarship rate for qualifying kitchen users)… We were able to use our USDA Community Food Project Grant to pay for The Food Corridor’s service. Thanks to this support, we can more fully focus on our mission to build a healthier, more inclusive local food system, and provide excellent support to the food entrepreneurs using our kitchen!

Why pursue a CFP grant? 
We knew we’d need funding for the educational programs associated with our kitchen and the objectives of the CFP grant program seemed a good fit for our programs. 

Why a grant-funded kitchen model? 
Because we have a social justice mission; we’re serving low-income, minority and/or immigrant food entrepreneurs and we knew we’d need to provide supports (financial, technical assistance) beyond what other shared-use kitchens in our area offer.

Project summary and timeline
The $300,000 grant is a 3-year grant that began September 2016. The goal is to build long-term economic vitality in the Takoma/Langley Crossroads community by increasing equity in the food system and building our community’s self-reliance.

  • Objective 1: Facilitate the creation of 75 new food businesses.
  • Objective 2: Support the scaling-up of 35 food businesses thru access to our kitchen, technical assistance, etc.
  • Objective 3: Link food entrepreneurs with farmers and markets to strengthen markets for locally-produced food.

How will this grant impact your community? 
Long term, this grant will improve quality of life for our participants through greater skills and increased economic opportunities. It will empower residents and increase food equity in our community. In the medium term, it will create jobs and increase revenue for participants; it will also increase the # of local products in the marketplace and increase sales for local farmers. 

What were your greatest challenges in writing this grant? 
We were denied twice before being awarded the grant on the 3rd try. These are extremely competitive. The grant application is also very extensive and time consuming. 

Any suggestions for those pursuing grant funding for their kitchen? 
There are some great grant opportunities out there! The two that come to mind for kitchens are the USDA AMS Local Food Promotion Program, and the USDA NIFA Community Food Project Competitive Grant Program

The Food Corridor is always on the hunt for kitchen funding strategies. Are you nonprofit? For profit? Hybrid? We’re curious to learn more about how kitchens are gaining the financial resources to launch and sustain.
Let us know and we’ll be in touch! 

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