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Harvest Kitchen finds a new home
By Chris Barnett / December 1, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

Workers dart between the coolers, prep areas in the Harvest Kitchen and counter out front at Farm Fresh RI’s new Healthy Corner Store + Cafe retail space in Pawtucket. More than a dozen young people from the Juvenile Corrections Services participate in Harvest Kitchen’s 20-week curriculum, which includes 15 weeks in the kitchen and a 5-week supported internship at an off-site location.

We have supported Farm Fresh RI since it launched in 2004 in order to better connect farmers to consumers and improve Rhode Island’s local food system. The organization was featured in our Backyard campaign and received our 2014 Community Leadership Award.

At the Harvest Kitchen, trainees work in groups of eight, scheduled in two separate shifts, to create a line of preserved foods, including apple sauce, pickles, apple chips and more, using local farm produce, and they sell those products at farmers markets, wholesale through FFRI's Market Mobile Program, and in the Corner Store + Cafe. Since 2010, Harvest Kitchen has graduated 15 groups of youth and used space in five different kitchens, finding its permanent home in the new 2 Bayley Street location.

"A purchase from the Corner Store + Cafe is purposeful. It supports the local food economy and the culinary job training program."

                                 — Jen Stott


“The program has been able to hire our Alumni for both back of house and front of house positions,” says program director and chef Jen Stott. "It is magical to see the Alumni mentoring the trainees."

The Harvest Kitchen Healthy Corner Store + Cafe is a vibrant, community-building space that brings fresh, local produce to the Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone, which is an area that has low access to healthy foods. The shop is hoping to accept SNAP benefits by next spring. The work is just part of how Farm Fresh RI primes the food economy.


Portions of this story are used with copyright permission from Rhode Island Monthly magazine.



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