In a county that has reserved about a third of its land for agricultural production, we value food not only as a necessity, but as an economic opportunity. Therefore, the Innovation Program has embarked on a series of projects designed to enliven and empower a burgeoning local food scene.

Kitchen Incubator

Status: In Progress – Initial plan is complete as we are actively exploring locations & finance options.

Description: The Kitchen Incubator project kicked off in October 2014 with an announcement by the County Executive at the Universities at Shady Grove. The project is a team effort between the Department of Economic Development and many other stakeholders. The project has hired consultants from Union Kitchen and Street Sense. For frequently asked questions click here.

Desired Outcomes: Increase food service businesses and lower the barrier to entry for food start-ups.

Food Recovery

Status: Complete

Description: This project stems from a County Council initiative and has evolved into a joint effort between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Montgomery County Food Council, and Community Food Rescue. The project seeks to develop systems and processes to increase the amount of food that can be captured before it is wasted and get that food to those who need it.

Desired Outcomes: Increase access to food for food insecure residents

Food Truck Catalyst Pilot

Status: Complete

Description: To address a growing business segment (food trucks and other mobile vendors) in the County, a work group will begin to outline a pilot program that will make public space available for food truck vendors utilizing the dataMontgomery platform. This project is being worked on by students in the Wheaton High School Innovation Lab.

Desired Outcomes: This project seeks to support small business by providing them a more stable and consistent operating environment. Success would be measured by an increase in food truck operations and a decrease in complaints from brick and mortar restaurants.

Food Hub

Status: In planning

Description: The Innovation Program is exploring the concept of a food hub to stimulate small farm production in the agricultural reserve, improve access to local products, and provide workforce development opportunities. This hub would compliment the kitchen incubator and is still being defined and researched.

Desired Outcomes: Stimulate more table crop production in the agricultural reserve and provide opportunities for value-added processing and workforce development.