Bakery With Bread CSA Replacing LaunchPad Art Incubator on Franklin Ave.

By Rachel Holliday Smith on May 22, 2014 11:26am 

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 The local creative incubator space LaunchPad will close after May classes wrap up, but a new bakery is on the way.
LaunchPad Closing
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CROWN HEIGHTS — There's good news for Brooklyn carb lovers — a Community Supported Agriculture-style bakery that lets customers buy "shares" of bread is coming to Franklin Avenue.

BK17 Bakery will take over the storefront where the creative incubator LaunchPad has hosted countless art installations, dance parties, readings and workshops for the past four years, the bakery owner and nonprofit founder said.

“LaunchPad’s had a really good run,” founder Michael Kunitzky, 39, said as he packed up the space this week in preparation to be out by June 1. “It’s just time for something new, and to kind of pass it on to someone who wants to try a different venture.”

BK17 plans to be just that. In a nod to more commonly available CSAs that offer portions of produce and meat, owner Sarah Owens described her venture as "community-supported baking."

"Folks will get one loaf a week to be picked up at the bakery during certain hours," she said by email, with prices and times still to be determined.

A rotating assortment of BK17 breads sells for $9.50 to $12.50 per loaf at Bklyn Larder on Flatbush Avenue.

Owens, a self-taught baker and former ceramicist, specializes in handmade, artisan bread that "evokes the flavor, texture and rustic feel of a traditional European style," according to her website. She uses local, organic and seasonal ingredients, and no commercial yeast.

Owens delivers her "European-style crusty loaves" to the Greenwood Heights CSA and to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (where she works as a rose curator). She started baking in her home kitchen in south Park Slope, eventually supplying her artisanal breads to markets including Nourish Kitchen + Table in the West Village.

The baker — who previously collaborated with LaunchPad — plans to carry on the nonprofit's tradition of holding community dinners at 721 Franklin Ave., just south of Park Place.

“I will also have a 10-foot-long table suitable for the ever-popular, curated 'pop-up' dinner as well as baking and DIY classes,” Owens said.

BK17 will not be a store open to the public every day, Owens said. Rather, she will use the space to bake for "CSB" customers, plus CSAs and restaurants.

LaunchPad will end its classes in the next two weeks, then Kunitzky will move on to new projects, possibly opening up LaunchPad-like spaces in other countries, he said.

The nearby yoga studio Brooklyn Yoga Collective, which was founded by LaunchPad, will continue operating as normal in its space down the block at 795 Franklin Ave. And LaunchPad will live on in the dozens of nonprofits, projects and experiments it helped launch through the years, Kunitzky said.

“By all accounts, it’s been a thriving, amazing venture. So, it’s not the death of LaunchPad,” he said. “As an organization, LaunchPad will continue.”

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