In 2015, thanks to a Central Appalachian Network small grant, the Appalachian Ohio Kitchen Incubator Network was formed. This networks consists of ACEnet, Youngstown’s Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, Muskingum County’s FoodWorks Alliance and the Perry County Community Kitchen. The project’s purpose was to bring together four local shared-use kitchens to create a peer-learning community to share best practices and strengthen the network of food hubs in the region to increase distribution and affect local and state food policy.

Showcase of Ohio Micro Food BusinessesAs a follow-up to the 2015 Small Grant, in May 2016, representatives and business owners from ACEnet and the other three shared-use kitchen incubators traveled to the Museum Gallery of the Columbus Statehouse for a Showcase of Ohio Micro Food Businesses.

This legislative day in Columbus, done in collaboration with the SBDC based at Columbus State, brought together the state representatives and state senator that represent the four facilities and other state officials to meet clients and to hear about the collective impact of these facilities and was a great opportunity to promote and support the expansion of the Appalachian Ohio Kitchen Incubator Network.

Mad Sweet Heat Candied Jalapeno Relish, Silverbridge Buckeye Buzz & Jamaican Me Crazy Coffee, Vino de Milo/JB’s Best Salsa, Oliver Farms BBQ Spice Rub, Road Hog Willy’s Real-Pit Bar-B-Q Sauce, Lapp It Up Kombucha Tea, FoodWorks Alliance Pizza Sauce, Doctor Kathy’s Trail Mix & an Ohio-shaped magnetic key holder with the ACEnet logo, made from local Athens wood, by Ohio is Home, all went into a re-usable canvas tote bag from Ohio is Home.

Food Policy Work - Healthy Food AccessOver 20 of these bags were given to politicians and policy makers who stopped by to meet the entrepreneurs & kitchen incubator staff.

For more pictures from the event, please visit our Facebook photo album!

Community Update by ACEnet Programs & Communications Coordinator, Meggan Loveland