We are pleased to announce that The Loop CID has been awarded one of 20 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants by the Missouri Department of Agriculture to strengthen the market for Missouri grown specialty crops.
The funding, just under $40,000, will go to The Packing House, a new component of our CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen designed to help regional growers transform their crops into value-added products. Farmers can now process crops in our kitchen, freezing and packaging fruits and vegetables for retail and wholesale distribution.
Our goal is to provide an easy onramp to process crops, especially for those growers who aren’t cooks and don’t have a lot of time. We’ve outfitted the kitchen with a professional grade vegetable slicer, a blast freezer, and an automatic bag sealer so regional growers can easily process excess crops for consumer or restaurant use. Thanks to this grant, our next phase will include a dehydrator, garlic peeler, professional blenders, and more—along with training on how to use the equipment.
If you haven’t heard of the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen, our goal is to encourage local food entrepreneurs by reducing barriers and creating opportunities for those without easy access to a commercial kitchen. It’s a shared space and we offer affordable rates, either by the month or by the hour. We also help connect our clients to business coaching and provide marketing assistance. Our current clients range from caterers to bakers to food trucks and we’re in the process of welcoming farmers as well.
It’s all part of our efforts here at The Loop to create a new layer of economic activity in the area with start-ups and food-based businesses. For The Packing House, we’ve teamed up with Root Cellar and Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri on a USDA grant to strengthen regional food supply chains. The last few years have shown the weakness in the global supply chain but local farmers have kept the shelves full. We’d like to help.
Any growers interested in using our kitchen on a seasonal basis can visit our website for more information. Learn more about our shared kitchen and our economic development mission, visit our CoMo Cooks website. And find contact information for our kitchen clients at https://theloopcomo.com/category/business/como-cooks/.