Fork Food Lab, Portland, Maine’s first membership-based shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator, almost ceased operation on October 1, 2018 when its parent company, Pilotworks of Brooklyn, NY, decided to close the facility. The action would have put 30 small food startups out of business. The Sustainability Lab, a local non-profit organization focused on creating more sustainable businesses related to food, water and waste, led the effort to rescue Fork Food.
Fork Food Lab came with assets and liabilities. On the plus side, 24 businesses continued their membership in Fork and another 10 have joined since October 1. The current members are a diverse and talented group of food entrepreneurs, working together and helping one another grow their businesses. Fork members are specialty food producers, food trucks, bakers, caterers and growers that in aggregate generate more than 3 million dollars in annual sales and employ over 50 people. Members source much of their ingredients from local farms and seafood harvesters. An outstanding staff of four, led by Jenn Stein, continues to provide crucial operational support.
A major challenge remains. The sudden transition in October led to $35,000 in unexpected expenses that included equipment and building repairs, security deposits and professional services. It is important that this debt be retired by the end of this year.
As a friend and supporter of Fork Food Lab, we ask you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to Fork Food Lab today.
Donors who contribute $100 or more before December 31, 2018 will receive tickets to our re-launch party in late winter.
Thank you for your support of this vital community project.
Beth Boepple, Chairperson, The Sustainability Lab
Bill Seretta, President, The Sustainability Lab