Food Forward has been working actively to connect Toronto food innovators and entrepreneurs with the kitchens they need to make community economic development happen. We've been doing it in a number of ways, and increasingly working to get new commercial kitchens on board for use throughout the City.
Under present regulations, the need to cook food for market in inspected kitchens means that many - especially those with less means and access - are left out. Kitchen access is the number one question we get.
Kitchens Forward, our commercial kitchens initiative is multi-pronged with advocacy, research and resources, to support entrepreneurs and make the broader change we need to improve healthy, diverse and local food access:
- Commerical Kitchen Directory - We've created a map of rentable commercial kitchens and more info you need if you're renting.
- Kitchens Forward Advocates - Food Forward and caterToronto members are working to advocate for commercial kitchen development throughout the City. Past blog, A Kitchen in every 'burb!
- Kitchen development - with support from the Local Food Fund, Food Forward is creating guides on how to start a rentable commercial kitchen, how to rent a kitchen, and a network of kitchen operators from business, government and non-profit.
- caterToronto - establishing partnerships to provide kitchen access to new caterers - stay tuned for more information or join caterToronto.
- Building Roots - with support from the Heart & Stroke Foundation, we're actively working with residents, developers, planners, and housing operators to explore, advocate for, and plan for the development of food infrastructure including new kitchens. Food Nation is pushing alongside.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. If you have or know of a rentable kitchen, want to establish one, or work with us to push for more and volunteer, please let us know.
Questions to ask when renting a new kitchen space
(for business activity)
Do you rent the kitchen for commercial purposes?
Do you require renters to have insurance? What kind?
Is the rate hourly/daily? Is there a discounted rate for non-profit/unwaged?
What is the kitchen outfitted & certified to make? Are there any relevant restrictions? (for example no deep frying permitted)
What equipment is included in the kitchen - is there anything I am required to bring myself?
Storage and Access
What hours is the space available? Is there a way to get access in off hours in order to pick up/drop off product?
How much space is available for storage (for equipment, ingredients, and product)?
What kind of storage (dry and refrigeration) is there? If required, can I bring my own refrigeration space?
How long can I leave products in the space? Is the space secured from other users of the kitchen?
A project of Housing Services Corporation's Social and Environmental Enterprise Development and Food Forward's Kitchens Forward initiative.