Food businesses have traditionally been a way for striving immigrants and low-income families to gain a foothold in the economy, but many South King County chefs face barriers to starting a business. These barriers include a lack of affordable commercial kitchen and restaurant space, as well as challenges navigating unfamiliar systems.
In 2017, Food Innovation Network launched our Food Business Incubator to help South King County women of color and immigrants start and grow food businesses. Participants incubate businesses for up to two years, receiving culturally sensitive business support and growing a peer network. We assist entrepreneurs with permits, subsidized kitchen and retail rent, connections to market channels, and coaching on food industry standards.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our program expanded in 2020 to support 13 businesses, and we launched Spice Bridge, providing Food Business Incubator participants with an affordable space to prepare and sell food.
The 2,800-square-foot facility includes a commercial kitchen with four cook stations, four retail food stalls, and a dining area. Eight food vendors rotate through the food hall stalls, offering culinary experiences that reflect the diversity of our community. Five additional businesses use our kitchen for off-site sales, such as pop-ups and packaged products.
When COVID-19 restrictions end, our kitchen will accommodate up to 20 businesses, and our food hall space will open for indoor dining, art performances, pop-ups, and other community events.
In addition to helping to create economic security for business owners and their families, Spice Bridge helps build food security in our community. The space supports FIN’s Tukwila Village Farmers Market, which makes fresh, local produce affordable and accessible for community members. Spice Bridge is also a hub for FIN’s community meals program, which has provided more than 8,700 no-cost meals for seniors and families in need.
Spice Bridge is located in Tukwila Village, a new mixed development with 400 new affordable and market-rate apartments managed by Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations (SHAG), a nonprofit organization.
If you’re interested in becoming a vendor, read about our Food Business Incubator.
A program of Global to Local, the Food Innovation Network (FIN) enhances the local food system, increases access to healthy foods, and supports local food businesses in the diverse communities of SeaTac/Tukwila and South King County. Global to Local is a SeaTac-based non-profit whose programs address the social determinants of health to advance health equity in local communities.
Read our 2021 Year in Review to see how we put our mission into action!