Above: Kitchens for Good expanded staff- 28 and counting
Kitchens for Good (KFG) was founded in 2014, under the belief that kitchens can be economic and social drivers for good in communities. With a mission to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through innovative programs in workforce training, healthy food production, and social enterprise, KFG set out over the past year to make this concept into a reality. After a long search for a kitchen, in the past two months KFG has been catapulted forward towards these goals. Since September KFG has grown from a staff of 2.5 to 28, operating a 25,000 sqft facility, running a vibrant social enterprise, preparing its first ever meal contract, and finally having the capacity to put these important programs into action.
In September 2015 Kitchens for Good was selected to operate the 25,000 square foot events space and kitchen at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. In this community events space in southeast San Diego, KFG has taken over operations of a robust social enterprise catering and events company (formerly True Roots Catering). This food enterprise creates livable wage jobs for graduates of KFG’s culinary job training program, and generates revenue to support its social programs.
"It’s kind of trite, but we want to be part of the solution that ends hunger," Chuck Samuelson, Founder/President of KFG said. "And it really is about creating good paying jobs for people. That’s the way you eventually end hunger. You lift people’s economic status by giving them jobs."
KFG’s approach to tackling hunger is to look at it as a full cycle, not only treating its immediate needs, but addressing it at its sources. In January 2016 its three core programs will launch: Project Reclaim - a recovery program for cosmetically imperfect but still nutritious food; Project Launch - a culinary job training program for the individuals typically considered difficult to employ; and Project Nourish – a healthy meal production program carried out by culinary students and distributed through hunger relief agencies. Project Kitchen – the social enterprise that creates jobs for culinary graduates and a sustainable financial foundation, has begun through the catering and events and contract meals.
These interconnected programs rely on continuous collaboration with those who share our vision of building a community of opportunity and health. For these reasons KFG is thrilled to be a member of the Food Systems Alliance through which it can develop relationships with local farmers, government agencies, and regional hunger relief nonprofits towards a goal of using food, not only as nourishment, but as a powerful tool for community change and empowerment.