Starting a business is hard work. But Cassandria Campbell and her business partner Jackson Renshaw were determined to make it happen. Their goal was to bring fresh, locally-grown food to neighborhoods in Boston where healthy and affordable food can be hard to find. They created Fresh Food Generation, a farm-to-plate food truck and catering business that would source ingredients from the greater Boston area.
Cassandria and Jackson needed help to get off the ground, and they found it in Dorchester. Years ago, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation saw the old, vacant Bornstein and Pearl Meats factory as a potential resource for growth in their community. They partnered with Crop Circle Kitchen to revitalize this former community landmark into a state-of-the-art culinary incubator. Dorchester Bay EDC spearheaded the $14 million project, and Crop Circle Kitchen shared their expertise in what food businesses need to get started and keep growing.
This collaboration produced the Bornstein and Pearl Food Production Center, a 36,000 square foot facility specially outfitted for food trucks and small enterprises. The Center provides businesses with commercial kitchen equipment and space to operate, as well as specialized technical assistance and access to capital. By the end of 2014, there were 17 businesses and 71 people working there. And these businesses are growing.
Fresh Food Generation now employs five people and serves roughly 3,000 customers each month. For Cassandria and Jackson, it has been “the ideal kitchen space for us to start and build our company…Crop Circle has whole-heartedly supported our mission and has helped us work towards achieving our goals. The staff helped us streamline our operations so we were more efficient in the kitchen and helped us connect to funding and catering opportunities.”
Small businesses like Fresh Food Generation play a critical role in increasing access to healthy, local food in underserved communities. But they can’t do it all on their own. In the Pearl Food Production Center, the ingredients are all there for these businesses to grow.