Com­mu­nity kitchens serve up so­lu­tion for home busi­nesses

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

North Glen­garry Town­ship and the Eastern On­tario Health Unit have started a pi­lot project that will al­low two town­ship-owned fa­cil­i­ties to be used as com­mu­nity kitchens.

“Ini­tially, the Com­mu­nity Kitchens project was in­tended to as­sist small, mostly lo­cal home-based food pro­duc­ers to ex­pand their busi­nesses by of­fer­ing af­ford­able Eastern On­tario Health Unit-cer­ti­fied spa­ces,” wrote North Glen­garry’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Direc­tor Anne Le­duc in a re­port to coun­cil. “These pro­duc­ers had usu­ally out­grown their ex­ist­ing spa­ces but were not at the point of be­ing able to up­grade, rent or pur­chase com­mer­cial space.”

Last July, new leg­is­la­tion came into ef­fect that made it il­le­gal for a pri­vate res­i­dence to op­er­ate as a food premises – de­fined by On­tario’s Health Pro­tec­tion and Pro­mo­tion Act as “a premises where food or milk is man­u­fac­tured, pro­cessed, pre­pared, stored, han­dled, dis­played, dis­trib­uted, trans­ported, sold or of­fered for sale, but does not in­clude a room ac­tu­ally used as a dwelling in a pri­vate res­i­dence.”

That – along with re­quire­ments that food prepa­ra­tion spa­ces had to be in­spected and cer­ti­fied by the health unit – spelled the end of many home-based food busi­nesses in the area. In­deed, when a lo­cal grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion called All Things Food asked SD-based home-based food busi­nesses if they would close in the wake of the new leg­is­la­tion, 10 of the 26 re­spon­dents said yes and a fur­ther seven said they were still con­sid­er­ing their op­tions.

Sub­se­quently, the health unit agreed to en­ter into the pi­lot project with the town­ship. Un­der this new agree­ment, the town­ship will make its kitchens at The Glen­garry Sports Palace and the Maxville & Dis­trict Sports Com­plex avail­able to qual­i­fied users for a rate of $50 per day.

Both kitchens have been ap­proved by the health unit. Book­ings will be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Direc­tor of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices. Lead hands at the two fa­cil­i­ties will be re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing both kitchens meet health unit stan­dards.

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