The Champaign County Ag Association and the Local Foods Council have joined forces as the Local Ag Council committee under the Chamber of Commerce. Both organizations were working to enhance agricultural economic development and education in the community so joining forces made a lot of sense.
The Local Ag Council has some major projects underway, including the creation of a commercial shared-use kitchen to be used by food entrepreneurs. The kitchen is being developed in cooperation with Graham Local Schools and will be housed in the high school cafeteria.
A USDA Rural Development grant was received in 2018 to fund specialized equipment. The procurement of equipment is underway, though progress has been delayed because of the pandemic. Seeing no further delays, the Council hopes to open the kitchen for use this coming fall.
This will be a big advantage for those with food businesses. Most kitchens of a similar purpose are only available in the major metropolitan areas of the state, which are not convenient for those in west-central Ohio.
The Council would like to invite the community to help us come up with a name. If you have a creative name, please submit your ideas at http://go.osu.edu/KitchenName. Keep in mind this kitchen will be open for regional food producers (not just Champaign County) and catchy acronyms are great for shortening longer names.
We welcome any new members to our group. You do not have be involved in agriculture, just have a passion for it! Contact the Chamber or Amanda Douridas at Douridas.email@example.com.
Amanda Douridas is the Champaign Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator for The Ohio State University Extension.