Introducing the Lopez Island

Shared Use Community Kitchen


Click HERE to go directly to the online survey and please leave your contact info if you are interested in using the kitchen.

A shared use community kitchen is a commercially licensed food processing facility designed to provide entrepreneurs shared access to professional equipment and facilities (and training) to mitigate the challenges of individually bearing the cost ownership.
Also known as “Job Incubators” such facilities incorporate/include educational, logistical, and financial support/components to help startup and existing businesses create jobs. They permit people with ideas for a food product, perhaps an old family recipe or some culinary invention opportunity to explore possibilities without investing a huge amount of money.

Some folks grow big gardens or like to purchase local produce during seasonal abundance and lack the equipment at home to efficiently process their food at home. These can use  professional equipment in a shared kitchen to efficiently and safely put food by to for personal consumption or to share.

Shared use kitchens have been created in communities across the country. A shared use commercial kitchen on can create jobs, enhance community food sustainability, and provide nourishment.

The purpose of this survey is to find out how interested people are in creating a shared use commercial kitchen on Lopez Island. It asks  if people want to start or expand a food related business, supplement their income, or just safely and more easily preserve their food using commercial grade equipment in a shared use kitchen. It further serves to guide infrastructure investment and equipment acquisition.

Folks from other Island Communities are welcome to participate. Most islands in San Juan County lack community food processing facility.

The idea of shared use community kitchen/food processing facility addresses five broad categories of opportunity:

Job Incubation

Job incubators help people start and grow their own small business by providing shared access to production facilities, business advice, technical training, and financial help. They have been created across the country to help people get started in business. They provide employment opportunities as entrepreneurs grow their business and help people supplement their income by having their food ideas (for example, old family recipes) turned into marketable products even on a small scale.

Community food processing

Gardeners and farmers can grow A LOT of food on Lopez. People already pickle, dry, can, or otherwise preserve their produce at home. A shared use facility permits people to process their food on a larger scale using professional equipment to accomplish this safely and efficiently, perhaps in collaboration with others at harvest-time work parties.


A shared use facility to process local produce provides incentive to grow an increasing variety of foods in greater abundance. In the long term, this biological diversity establishes an inventory of genetic resources (varieties of plants and animals) that could mitigate possible climate changes, broadening the base of foods available.
Also, a diverse selection of produce increases opportunities to create locally unique products and explore new markets.


Learning about safe food handling and processing benefits any student. Learning how to safely produce food products and sell them to the general public permits people to create jobs. Learning to run a business can be carried over to many enterprises. Much like a “garden to cafeteria” program teaches botany and zoology, studies of physics, chemistry, biology, math, economics and other academic pursuits all have a role in learning about safely processing food and providing it to others.


Local jobs based on local production provide economic security. Livelihoods less susceptible to economic swings (construction, tourism) provide social security. A robust diversity of food in production with established infrastructure to handle it is better than money in the bank. We may not always be able to rely on an interstate highway system and global shipping for our sustenance. We live in a time of vast abundance and ready access to high quality durable industrial equipment. It seems prudent to assemble the requisite infrastructure to take advantage of the potential abundance surrounding us.


Resources exist to help bring long-term employment and security to communities.  Federal, State, County, service organizations, and private funds are allocated for just such endeavors. Also, much support lives in the hearts and minds of community-oriented individuals who have time and skills to offer beyond a ledger’s accounting.

Students are welcome to participate in this survey as you imagine how to create your livelihood. This facility could be a part of your future whether farming, processing, or marketing. Skills gained here could help you where ever you go.

Your old family recipe or culinary invention may be just a legal kitchen away from market.

Click HERE to go directly to the online survey.

Email me at

Lopez Island Sustainability Hub, TheLISH”  Facebook page

Thanks for your interest in a sustainable Lopez Island community.

Randall Waugh