Jump to Content

A generous donation from Compusense Inc.

Posted on: April 3, 2023

Creating a shared commercial kitchen at the Guelph Farmers’ Market.

A generous donation from Compusense Inc. is helping to bring a shared commercial kitchen to the Guelph Farmers’ Market.

“Food is the closest thing to a hug you can give a stranger.”

Yasi Zorlutuna, local food innovator and founder of FEWD, Food Equity with Dignity

The secret to healthier and more connected communities could be in the kitchen. Research suggests that community kitchens may help tackle challenges like food insecurity, social isolation and societal disconnect—as they provide a shared space for community members to bolster their cooking skills, interact socially and cross-culturally, gain access to nutritious meals, and improve their budgeting skills and nutritional awareness.

Guelph’s Nourish at 10C shared commercial kitchen backs the research up. This small community kitchen is designed to bring food creators together, offering opportunities for local programming and teaching events as well as shared kitchen space for Guelph’s food-focussed start-ups and entrepreneurs. 

Since opening in 2020, the concept of Nourish has resonated so deeply with members of the community that the kitchen is now anticipating reaching capacity with strong local demand. Fortunately, thanks to capital grant funding and a generous donation to 10C’s Guelph Farmers’ Market Activation, that won’t be a challenge for long.

Guelph-based Compusense Inc., a world leader in consumer and sensory software, research and innovation, donated commercial kitchen equipment valued at $20,000. The equipment, which was previously gently used in Compusense’s in-person testing labs, will help 10C enhance Guelph’s community food infrastructure through a new shared commercial kitchen to be completed in phase two of renovations which are currently underway at the Market.

“At Compusense, we’re proud to call Guelph home—and we’re always looking for ways to give back to this amazing community,” says Jacqueline Dysart, adding that Compusense has been a member of the Guelph community for more than 30 years. “The Farmers’ Market has a longstanding tradition of bringing people together through the power of food. We’re excited to see how this shared commercial kitchen will further enhance the space—and we’re proud to be able to play a part in supporting such an important initiative.”

The donated equipment—which includes a bake oven, fridges, freezers, prep tables, a dishwasher and a deep fryer—creates endless possibilities for the shared commercial kitchen, which in turn will enhance the Guelph Farmers’ Market and the community as a whole. 

“Our vision for the Guelph Farmers’ Market is to create a quality public place—a community hub where people can gather and attend activities on any day of the week. We also foresee it as a central element to the Downtown Guelph food district—and the heart of food and culture in Guelph-Wellington,” says Julia Grady, executive director at 10C Shared Space. “A well-appointed community kitchen is integral to making this vision a reality and we’re very grateful to Compusense for helping us make it happen.”

As the Guelph Farmers’ Market has recently launched renovations to make room for the new commercial kitchen, Compusense’s donation isn’t sitting idle. Rather, some equipment is already being used by local chef Yasi Zorlutuna with a project called FEWD – Food Equity With Dignity—a not-for-profit committed to creating community meals. “We were able to borrow a large commercial fridge and a food processor. Setting up a commercial kitchen is very expensive so being able to borrow equipment has helped us avoid some of those big expenses. This equipment has been integral to the launch of our operation.” Yasi was recently honoured with the Food Waste Innovator Award at the 2023 Second Harvest Food Rescue Awards for their work locally with FEWD.

When the market kitchen opens in 2023-24, 10C has plans to leverage the equipment to enhance the Guelph Farmers’ Market in a variety of new and exciting ways. Specifically, the kitchen will help facilitate:

Innovative new programming – The market will expand activities beyond Saturday mornings—and the shared commercial kitchen will provide more room for interactive programming, events, and other uses designed to bring people together and keep the market hopping, up to seven days a week. 

Some potential uses include: multi-cultural food events, food skills development and training programs, cooking classes, as well as opportunities to learn more about plant-based diets, local food sources and the circular food economy. 

Local food product availability – In 2022, 10C opened the Guelph Farmers’ Market doors to a larger number of vendors with Take-Home Thursdays—an opportunity for customers to pick up pre-ordered products as well as explore a new pop-up market offering, June-December from 4:00-7:00 pm on Thursdays. Plans are underway to continue Thursdays at the Market weekly starting in June.

With more kitchen preparation space and more days of operation, the market will be able to better serve its existing vendor base while broadening its list of vendors even further—connecting the community to more local farmers, emerging food enterprises, new prepared-food vendors, student-led groups and other organizations.

Additional room for special guests – The new kitchen will provide ample space for guest chefs to showcase their craft—and allow more people to watch, or even take lessons. There will also be opportunities to host long-table, family-style suppers—or special events that connect farmers, food creators and the general community.  

The sky really is the limit—but the end result will ultimately depend on the enthusiasm of local donors, supporters and other grant-based funding underway. 

To date, 10C has been awarded financial support from all three levels of government collectively contributing just over $1,100,000 towards the $2,100,000 project. To take the project to the next level, and complete planned phases two and three of the project, 10C will require additional funds—and is seeking local individuals, foundations and businesses who may be able to help through the LOVE Your Market campaign.

10C is inspired by Compusense’s early leadership in this project,
and hope that you are as well.

If you’re interested in making a financial donation that will make a strong impact in your own backyard, or learn more about the Guelph Farmers’ Market Activation— visit 10carden.ca/yourmarket or email us at info@10carden.ca.