New Year, New Takoma Park Silver Spring Community Kitchen!
The Story of TPSS Community Kitchen
The Takoma Park Silver Spring (TTPS) Community Kitchen recently underwent an expansion project to create more storage and workspace on the second floor. The timing could not be more perfect since the increased space will allow the kitchen to accommodate more food businesses while also promoting culinary justice through its community-based programming.
Most small-scale food business entrepreneurs lack the capital to invest in their own production facilities, and rental costs at commercial kitchens in the DC area are prohibitive. So Crossroads worked with the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church to transform an existing kitchen space into a shared-use, commercial kitchen to help meet the needs of local small-scale food entrepreneurs. Since August 2017, the focus of the community kitchen has been to be a resource and facility for community members to develop economic independence while sharing cultural experiences. Many entrepreneurs create products and meals with recipes passed down from generations or ingredients native to their home country.
Most business owners based at the TPSS Community Kitchen aspire to own restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks, or household brands that started locally. The kitchen allows these entrepreneurs to take fundamental steps to learn the basics of starting and operating a business and scale up strategically to attain their goals. In collaboration with Crossroads Farmers Market, there are opportunities for businesses to operate as pop-up vendors to make sales, receive consumer feedback, and learn essential factors necessary to improve their business.
The kitchen is also a hub for community activity. Recently a group of gardeners supported by Community CHEER made meals together from fresh produce they’d grown and harvested in local garden plots. Crossroads is also thrilled to resume its partnership with the City of Takoma Park Recreation Department. Beginning in February, middle school students again will have the opportunity to cook in the kitchen with Crossroads’ Healthy Eating Program staff. Students can register now through the City of Takoma Park. There are two different time slots for this class, with a maximum of 6 students per session.
It is an exciting time for the community kitchen. Crossroads looks forward to another year of supporting financial self-sufficiency, increasing local economic growth, and facilitating cultural expression and community connection—all necessary components of an equitable and robust local food system.