Funding for GWCARC Public Hearing
By: Carl C. Stafford
Senior Extension Agent, Secretary GWCARC
The photo shows a public hearing held this week to discuss plans for the George Washington Agriculture Research Center and its commercial kitchen project. By the time you read this article, a special grant application has gone in asking for $675,000 to begin work on this important resource.
If approved, the Department of Housing and Community Development funds will initiate construction in selected spaces at The Carver Center. This area will be the home of the commercial kitchen. Partners include Culpeper County, the Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the GWC Food Enterprise Center. For additional information: http://gwcarc.org/
Michelle Edwards, Planner with the RRRC, provided background on the purpose and intent of the application. She pointed out identified need for the planned facilities as survey respondents have indicated that access to inspected commercial kitchen facilities was a desirable and needed improvement for the region. An Ohrstrom Foundation grant is also pending for the project.
Laura Loveday, Grants Administrator for Culpeper County, provided a progress report on programs underway at the Center and discussed relevance of the Commercial Kitchen as a centerpiece for planned food related programs there. The kitchen is intended to be of several benefits to the region.
Becky Gartner, FCS Extension Agent, Project Leader on the kitchen, described these benefits. Training will be provided under the program Stone Soup, now operating out of commercial kitchen spaces across several counties. Business incubation is planned for those seeking an affordable space to try out their recipes, prepare their products, scale up food production while under inspection. In the end, these people would graduate out and continue their food based business on their own.