Truth Or Consequences – USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was in Truth or Consequences today to present a certificate of obligation to The Bountiful Alliance, a local non-profit, in the amount of $98,942 to pay for the construction of a certified commercial kitchen.
The Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) administered by USDA Rural Development's Business and Cooperative Service program is funding the project which will help vendors meet state food processing standards and to compete effectively in the marketplace.
During his tour of the construction of the kitchen Brunner commented, "The development of locally grown or processed products is a terrific way to grow small business, strengthen markets for agricultural producers and help everyone get better access to fresh, healthy and delicious local products. USDA is committed to investing in efforts like this one to help our rural communities grow and prosper. I hope to come to this facility in the future and see it being used extensively by the community.
The project will also provide technical assistance to 25 small businesses in creating value added products which will help with their economic growth and to improve their understanding of consumer needs and merchandising. Experts will provide training and mentoring of small businesses in areas such as health and safety, business management, marketing, communication, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Currently, 15 area vendors have committed to use the facility including a business that makes salsa. Some of the food items identified to be made in the kitchen include: bread, chutney, mustard and pecan products. Also workshops will be held at the facility to teach about distilling herbs and making tinctures.
The commercial kitchen is expected to be in operation later this fall with full production of products being made available as soon as the vendors receive training on how to use the equipment and the facility.
To celebrate the commitment of the funds from USDA Rural Development, Mr. Brunner presented a certificate of funding obligation to Sandi Gardner the executive director of the Bountiful Alliance during the construction tour. The event was held this morning at 10:00 AM at the commercial kitchen site located at 614 McAdoo Street in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.