ROGERS PARK — The Glenwood Sunday Market has already raised thousands of dollars it hopes to use to open a kitchen in the neighborhood that organizers say would be a "hub" for small business food artisans.
Market director Sheree Moratto said the kitchen could be used by artisans who need a place to prepare their food.
The kitchen would also be part of a larger "incubator" for the artisans and would offer guidance as new businesses navigate government bureaucracy that too often stops good ideas from growing into sustainable businesses, she says.
Moratto hopes the kitchen will spawn new businesses that would buy from independent farmers and sell goods at farmers markets throughout the city, including Rogers Park's weekly Sunday market.
"Every week someone comes up to me with a fantastic business idea," she said, but the ideas rarely go any further.
The market, operated by the Rogers Park Business Alliance, launched a Kickstarter funding campaign this week after it was chosen by World Business Chicago to participate in Seed Chicago, a program that helps fund neighborhood business and development ideas.
If the market raises $10,000, sponsor MillerCoors will donate an additional $5,000.
Moratto says there's nothing else in the country like what she's proposing.
"When people get used to how food grown locally tastes, the movement will grow," she said, and she wants Rogers Park to be the example of how people can eat and grow food locally.
If the project is funded, Moratto said she'll select a pilot group of businesses to go through the incubator program. Then they'll open an actual kitchen in Rogers Park where the businesses can prepare their goods.
An ideal candidate, for example, is Tomate Fresh Kitchen, she said.
The new business sells empanadas at Chicago farmers markets, using locally sourced ingredients, according to Moratto.
The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce was also selected this year by Seed Chicago to start an official "Taste of Rogers Park."