About The Kitchen

The Kitchen!

In April 2016, LEAP finished construction on The Kitchen, a shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator, in Roanoke’s West End neighborhood.

If you are interested in learning more about The Kitchen, read some of our user documents here, including our User Policies and Fee Schedule. Fill out and return the application if you’re ready to take the next step.

WECM space

A huge THANK YOU to Freedom First Credit Union and The West End Center for Youth, who have been great partners and supporters of this effort!

The Kitchen Planning
The Kitchen has been a truly community and collaborative effort. After years of planning, LEAP is ready to get people cookin’! The planning process started with a needs assessment completed in July 2012 by Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development (pdf of VT kitchen study for West End).  The 1210 Patterson Ave building (where the Kitchen is located) was completed in May 2014. In October 2014, LEAP was awarded a $25,000 planning grant from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program! This planning grant helped LEAP cover expenses to plan the kitchen (finalize the kitchen design, pay for architecture and engineering design and develop a business plan). From October to November 2014, LEAP worked with a consultant (Community Works Consulting) to facilitate meetings with our community partners and amazing food producers and plan the The Kitchen. We worked with Interactive Design Group to create our architectural drawings and PCD Engineering for the engineering design. See below for the floor plan!

LEAP Community Kitchen Floor plan as of November 12, 2014

LEAP Kitchen Floor plan as of November 12, 2014

Thanks to Jesse and Kristin Machac of Circa Construction, LLC (www.circava.com) we also have a couple awesome 3-D images of what the Kitchen looks like (a couple small changes in between planning and construction), see below.

3-D drawing of Bake Kitchen in LEAP Kitchen

3-D drawing of Hot Kitchen in LEAP Community Kitchen

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3-D drawing of Warewashing Workspace in LEAP Kitchen

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3-D Image of Aerial View of LEAP Kitchen

Construction

In November 2014, LEAP received a $100,000 from the Roanoke Women’s Foundation of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley to support The Kitchen!  In November 2015, LEAP received a $20,000 grant from the State of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services AFID fund with matching funds from the City of Roanoke Economic Development Authority.  The final funds to make up our budget shortfall came from a grant from Carilion Clinic!  We are forever thankful for the outpouring of support for this project and for the forward-thinking leadership in our community.

Construction started in December of 2015 and was completed in April 2016! The Kitchen is open and ready for use. Contact LEAP to schedule a tour.

One of the Kitchens in the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center

One of the Kitchens in the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center

Why Build The Kitchen?
The Kitchen will help develop more food-based businesses and build a more sustainable local food system in the Roanoke Valley. Specifically, the Kitchen allows existing and start-up food businesses to prepare and package food that can then be purchased at Community Markets, retail stores and restaurants. As a business incubator, the Kitchen provides business planning and community resources to new food entrepreneurs. The Kitchen is also be available for individuals and farmers to make value-added products (e.g. turn your boxes of tomatoes into salsa). Lastly, the Kitchen is a community space in which organizations and community groups can teach cooking and nutrition classes, bring additional attention to healthy eating, and get people excited about food and health!

Not sure what a shared kitchen looks like? There are a lot of shared kitchen models around the US. A couple great examples include Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Asheville NC, the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center in Hillsborough NC and La Cocina in San Francisco, CA.