GT Board members Karen Gilgoff and Christine Kessides attended the grand opening celebration for the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Community Kitchen, a project for which the Crossroads Community Food Network received GT's $8000 in 2016. CCFN has been a significant innovator of food security services for the low-income and largely immigrant residents in Langley/Takoma Park over the past 10 years by matching private and public funds to double federal nutrition benefit. In addition, CCFN has set up the community-based farmers' market, and shepherded the first community kitchen in the DC area.
This 6-year project, undertaken in partnership with a local church housing the kitchen facility, required CCFN to pursue zoning changes, a local bond issue, and other fundraising to renovate the space and provide adequate food storage for a properly licensed kitchen. GT’s grant helped fund some of the gleaming new equipment for the facility (ref photo). The TPSS Community Kitchen will be made available on a sliding fee scale to about 15 low income immigrant women (in the first year) aiming to produce and sell value-added product rather than simply selling fresh produce, thus increasing their year-round earnings and diversifying nutritious foods available to the community. The project also links integrally with the microenterprise training program run by CCFN, as well as with the farmers' market.
The grand opening was also attended by Anna Hargrave, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Community Foundation, who presented CCFN with a $50,000 grant for the community kitchen. GT and the MCCF are prominently displayed on the “donor tree” outside the kitchen entrance (ref photo). We all enjoyed sampling the tasty wares of some of the food producers—and took away small jars of “District 20 Salsa”, one of the first items to come from TPSS Community Kitchen.