News Bites: Hope & Main Announces First Group of Local Culinary Entrepreneurs, RI Food Policy Council Call for Nominations

by David Dadekian

Hope & MainCurrent news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items, though I will add I’m a huge fan of Hope & Main and was proud to have several of these first incubuses sample their product at the Eat Drink RI Festival in April, and I’m a member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council—please follow any links for more information.

Hope & Main Food Business Incubator Announces Inaugural Cohort

More than 30 food entrepreneurs will launch culinary businesses this month as members of the state’s first food business incubator program

Hope & Main, a forward-thinking, non-profit food business incubator designed to support the local food system and to strengthen the region’s economy, today introduced its inaugural group of members, a cohort of more than 30 culinary entrepreneurs who will be growing early-stage food startups and other food-related businesses from the organization’s headquarters in Warren, Rhode Island. The companies will begin full production at Hope & Main’s newly renovated facility in September 2014.

The many resources offered by Hope & Main’s incubator program, coupled with the fact that the organization does not receive equity in its members’ companies, prompted a flood of applications from entrepreneurs seeking to jump-start food ventures. Members hail from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and include specialty food product makers, catering companies, food trucks, farmers, personal chefs and nutritionists.

Hope & Main will hold a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting event on October 3 to celebrate the opening of the newly-renovated facility, largely financed through a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Loan, and to introduce the public to the inaugural cohort of member companies.

As the state’s first food business incubator, Hope & Main’s nonprofit incubator program gives food startups the chance to grow in their first two to three years without the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. Members benefit from extensive mentoring, access to fully equipped and affordable workspace, and immersion in an entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with industry experts and peers. Hope & Main’s aim is to create a community of support for food entrepreneurs and to serve as a springboard for the launch and growth of new culinary enterprises.

Hope & Main is great example the new ‘sharing economy’ where small producers can access an extensive platform of resources that not only reduce expense and exposure to risk but also increase the chance for success,” says Lisa Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main. “It has given these fledgling entrepreneurs the opportunity to think big even as they start small. It is their promise and enthusiasm that has brought us to this milestone.”

The inaugural cohort of entrepreneurs and their food-related startups are:

Acacia Food Truck & Kitchen
Member: Dawn Brooks-Rapp

Agraria Edibles
Member: Barbara Link

Allie’s Genuine Goodness
Member: Elizabeth Alvarez

Anavila Bakehouse
Member: Margie Aitkenhead

Members: Matthew McClelland and Loubnen Sukkar

Bella Piccolina
Member: Daniela Mansella

Biggest Little Popcorn Company
Member: Roselette W. DeWitt

The CupCake Contessas
Members: Marylee Dixon and Karianne Polak

Member: Helena Sheusi

Essentially Coconut
Member: Sophia Gartland

Fox Point Pickling Company
Member: Ziggy Goldfarb

Great Gaines Foods
Member: Judy Venter-Gaines

Griffith Gardens
Member: Bryan Sirois

Halsey & Bowen Peanut Sauce
Member: Morgan Hollenbeck

Members: Charles and Kaari Groscup

Laughing Gull Chocolates
Lindsay Tarnoff

Lori’s Primo Granola
Member: Lori Vartanian

Matt’s Magic Brownies
Member: Matt D’Alessio

Mima’s Gluten-Free & Nut-Free
Members: Lois Mahoney and Betsy Shealy

My Lil’ Chefs
Members: Jack Achenbach and Casey Paige

New England Syrup & Tonic
Members: Candace and Chris Clavin

New Urban Farmers
Members: Bleu Grijalva and Emily Jodka

Nutritionally Sound
Member: Meg O’Rourke RD-LDN

Ocean State Smoked Fish Company
Member: Jeffrey Powell

Pies by Moira
Member: Moira Walker

Spicy Penguin
Member: David Peligian

Tito’s Cantina
Member: Richard Reavis

Uncle Truscott’s Classic American Confections
Member: Peter Kelly


Members of the RI Food Policy Council tour Hope & Main

Members of the RI Food Policy Council tour Hope & Main

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council is seeking new Council Members for the 2015 term.

New members will be elected at the December 2014 Annual Meeting.

Nomination Forms due on September 30th.

Who Should Be Nominated?

The Council seeks qualified candidates, from diverse sectors of the Rhode Island food system, who are committed to and interested in food systems change.

The membership selection process strives to achieve racial, socioeconomic, ethnic and geographic diversity.

What’s Involved?

Responsibilities of Council members include:

  • Create new and innovative ideas and plans for the Rhode Island food system
  • Monitor and promote the Rhode Island food system across multiple sectors
  • Help to maintain direction, purposes & goals, functions and responsibilities of the RIFPC

Detailed info on Council duties can be found on our website.

How Do I Find Out More?

If you have specific questions about Council roles and responsibilities, please contact RIFPC Vice-Chair Krystal Noiseux.

If you are a part of (or know of!) a community organization that might benefit from hearing more about RIFPC in general -who we are, what we do, and how community members can get involved with us – please let Krystal know and she’d be happy to reach out to them as Chair of our Governance Committee.

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