The Community Agriculture and Nutritional Enterprises (C.A.N.E.) Community Kitchen, created in partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, was established as a working commercial kitchen to provide new markets and increase the agricultural footprint in Letcher County and surrounding communities.
The commercial kitchen enterprise is an effort to establish a permanent outlet for local farm products as well as a space for entrepreneurs to create high quality value-added products. By providing farmers a way to process their leftover produce from the day’s market, C.A.N.E. allows farmers to take the necessary risks involved with scaling up Eastern Kentucky’s food system that can meet both local, and eventually, regional demand for fresh, healthy, Appalachian-grown food.
C.A.N.E. also provides entrepreneurial opportunities, trainings and incubation for food producers and food-based businesses. AIF supported the development of the C.A.N.E. kitchen through early and significant grantmaking support that helped launch the facility. AIF then stepped in to provide technical assistance to shore up the organization’s financial systems . With due diligence around strengthening their financial systems complete, AIF was able to connect C.A.N.E. to national foundations and additional funding. AIF’s capital products are now readying to be available for social enterprises and new businesses that emerge from the kitchen.