Growing Together: Fostering Creation in Shared Space

All your friends beg for your famous granola for holiday and birthday gifts. You find yourself spending hours in the kitchen and everyone encourages you to start selling your granola at the local farmers market. Thanks to the Michigan Cottage Food Law, you’re able to make your granola in your kitchen and sell it at the farmers market. However, your kitchen is quickly becoming too small to keep up with production demands and you want to start selling to the local grocery store. In order to grow your business, you need commercial kitchen space. Constructing a commercial kitchen that meets state licensing requirements, however, is more than your small business can afford. Fortunately for you, there is a shared kitchen space in town: Proud Mitten Shared Kitchen!

According to, there are over 700 PARCincubator/shared kitchen spaces in the United States. Michigan is home to 24 of these spaces. One of the main goals of shared use kitchens is to lower the barrier of entry into new markets for value-added food entrepreneurs. For a reasonable rental fee, these kitchens provide licensed kitchen space, equipment, storage, and other support which allows entrepreneurs to focus their time and capital on growing their business. These businesses are also an important avenue for community building and the fostering of new business to business connections.

PM LogIn Southeast Michigan, Proud Mitten Shared Kitchen is providing a path for local Michigan entrepreneurs to grow and launch their food businesses.  The centrally located, affordable commercial kitchen space is currently home to 12 budding food enterprises. Since working in the shared kitchen, may of these businesses have expanded their products into new markets and retail locations around metro Detroit. In addition to physical space, tenants, or “locals” as owner Marlo Bendon calls them, receive a variety of support. Marlo is passionate about helping entrepreneurs in any stage of business overcome start-up hurdles, seek new heights, and connect to other people within the community.  She also helps “locals” navigate the confusing world of licensure and certification and strives to make Proud Mitten Shared Kitchen a collaborative, creative space where high-quality, locally made and sourced products flourish.

Currently, Proud Mitten Shared Kitchen’s “Locals” Include:

Cinnful Crunch   Cookies & More, LLC

Darla & Francine’s Cookie Table   JALA-pesto

Poppa’s Gourmet Hot Sauce   Peach & Honey Cake Bars

Raging Squirrel Bakery   Spun Sugar Detroit   Tenera Grains

The Simple Kitchen – Provisions   Two Dolls Bakery   Vicky’s Dips & Drizzles

For more information on Proud Mitten Shared Kitchen and the delicious “mitten made” products made in their space, visit their website .

Kelly Wilson, RD is TLD’s SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator. She practices nutrition through her business Taste of Health Nutrition and operates a small farm (Simple Gifts Farm).