Ribbon Cutting Opens Doors for Food Entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania

Posted on 06/22/2011 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan joined other USDA and local officials to officially open a kitchen facility in York that will provide education and workforce training. Financial support for the kitchen was provided through a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise (RBEG) grant.

"Projects like this one encourage development of new food products, train individuals who want to acquire skills necessary to get a job, and provide educational opportunities for residents who want to know more about providing healthy meals to their families," said Merrigan. "The Obama Administration is helping create jobs in Pennsylvania by developing regional food systems that will stimulate growth of new businesses within rural areas."

Known as "YorKitchen" and located within York's Downtown Central Market, the kitchen will help to overcome the road blocks that can stand between a farmer or food entrepreneur and marketing a food product. Operators are also partnering with local community service organizations to provide educational opportunities to low-income individuals who want to learn about nutrition and healthy food options. The kitchen will also provide workforce training opportunities and business start-up technical assistance. A "performance kitchen", donated by various local companies, will be a complimentary show kitchen within the YorKitchen incubator.

Merrigan was joined at the ribbon cutting by USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director Thomas Williams, NutriCore NorthEast officials and local guests. Rural Development provided a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to NutriCore last year to jump-start the kitchen project.

The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses, distance learning networks, and employment related adult education programs.