Thursday, February 07, 2013

House Bill 56 Supports the Creation of Community Kitchens in New Mexico

Delicious New Mexico, an organization that promotes the use of local ingredients in our state's food and restaurant industries, is urging us to support House Bill 56, an effort to promote community kitchens around the state.

Here is the organization's pitch.
Our local food movement is booming with more farmers’ markets, more new products on the shelves and restaurants committed to sourcing as local as possible. It’s happening fast and could grow even faster, creating more products and jobs. House Bill 56, a statewide cohesive food infrastructure measure, would support communities around New Mexico in making use of underutilized kitchen assets through creating a community kitchen that can accelerate the growth of rural food entrepreneurs, using the Mixing Bowl's proven model of kitchen incubation. This could be exactly what we need to rebuild our economy.
Another traditional benefit of community kitchens has been to offer  lower-cost meals to the community. This concept is promoted by the One World Everybody Eats  foundation.  One example was the Community Table Cafe in Santa Fe, which not only used local and organic ingredients but also made it part of its mission to raise awareness about food insecurity in the City Different. (But the restaurant business is risky, particularly during an economic downturn. So the Community Table Cafe had to close its doors).

This is noble effort that is worth our support.  Contact Your Legislator to voice your support for House Bill 56.

About the Bill
The Rio Grande Community Development Corporation (RGCDC) is asking the New Mexico Legislature for $1.4 million over four years (HB56) to build a food-related economic development infrastructure across rural NM, using the proven Mixing Bowl model. The Mixing Bowl, a kitchen incubator in the heart of Albuquerque’s culturally rich South Valley, works with 250 potential entrepreneurs every year. It has 120 businesses currently in the development phase, 60 businesses currently selling products, and another 40 that have graduated from the process over the last six years.

With an annualized cost per job of $3,200, the Mixing Bowl has proven to be one of the most cost-effective job-creation programs in the country, and a crown jewel of RGCDC’s programs. After consulting with startup incubation programs around the country, it was presented to standing-room-only audiences at the National Conference on Business Incubation.

Using the Mixing Bowl model and providing greater access to markets through Delicious New Mexico (a statewide network for food entrepreneurs, with over 50 members already in its first year), this funding will generate 120 new companies, 298 new jobs and $5.485 million in gross business impacts across multiple rural NM communities over the next four years.

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