|Apr 08, 2014 --
Everyone wants large companies to come to their area for jobs and opportunities, but those opportunities may already exist in our communities. The Deuel Community Kitchen is the first partnership of its kind in South Dakota and gives rural South Dakotans a starting place for entrepreneurship. By creating and supporting this kitchen incubator, Deuel Area Development, Inc. (DADI) is helping to connect rural entrepreneurs with new market opportunities, contributing significantly to community economic development. The kitchen incubator gives local growers an opportunity to try out their favorite recipe and the potential to grow from a one person operation to a business with several employees. With people’s concerns about healthy and safe food, the demand is growing for home grown, locally produced food, adding to the market opportunity for local growers. Besides growing and processing food, the “Chefs” are creating their own business complete with business plans, marketing strategies, and future goals.
DADI received a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) in the amount of $99,900 and leveraged it with $16,600 and an in-kind contribution of $57,904 for total project cost of $174,404 to provide technical assistance to small businesses in Deuel County in eastern South Dakota. In partnership with the Deubrook Area School in Toronto, DADI created a commercial kitchen incubator where local producers and local chefs can process food. Dakota Rural Action, a grassroots, family agriculture, and conservation group, assisted DADI in working out the details for local producers to use the kitchen.
One producer grows peppers and makes pepper jelly. A local restaurant in Brookings purchased all her pepper jelly, so next year they will be growing more peppers which will provide jobs and training in the kitchen when harvest and jelly making time starts in the fall. She’s glad she can use the commercial kitchen until her business generates enough revenue to build her own commercial kitchen. Another producer is using her garden produce to make pesto, and a third person wants to start a catering business.
Joan Sacrison, Executive Director of DADI said, "This has been a fun project to work on because we all collaborated our talents to making it happen and by using the commercial kitchen already at the school, we didn’t have to buy a lot of equipment. People are not familiar with kitchen incubators so being the first incubator in the state is exciting, but now comes the need for education to help others become entrepreneurs and realize a dream come true. There are so many possibilities in the use of an incubator; to take a recipe from paper to a finished project and that is what we are hoping to convey to individuals. We want to see other rural communities in South Dakota use our Deuel Community Kitchen as a model.”