Pasture and Plenty expands with new food business incubator, The P&P Makeshop
New shared production kitchen will provide local food entrepreneurs a space to grow.
In the process of expanding her own business, Christy McKenzie is launching The P&P Makeshop, a space for the community’s food service entrepreneurs to create, collaborate and support the local food system.
The owner of Pasture and Plenty is no stranger to the ups and downs of the food business, but similar to other local purveyors there was no way she could have prepared for the losses caused by the pandemic. After watching restaurants shut down in Seattle and New York City last February, McKenzie says it became clear by the first week of March that continuing business as usual was not a possibility. As a result, Pasture and Plenty closed the week before Gov. Evers’ Stay at Home order.
Pasture and Plenty continued to offer its meal kits and shifted to takeout options as a way for families to eat local, nutritious meals at home. The project was a way to adapt and serve the community, but when it evolved into a full-scale business plan, McKenzie and her team realized they were going to need some more space. When the opportunity presented itself, she purchased the building next door.
Born out of necessity, The P&P Makeshop will primarily function as a space for food prep and storage but it also will function as a manufactory and shared production kitchen for businesses outside of Pasture and Plenty.
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“Commercial kitchens are expensive to build and maintain … so a shared production setting is a common way to share the costs and build a resource that has more amenities than one business could resource on their own,” McKenzie says. “Many shared kitchens focus primarily on tenants who are caterers, food carts or other food service professionals. Our Makeshop is built uniquely to support food manufacturers and provide space for the specialized production equipment and resources they need to create, market and distribute their products.”
In launching the new business incubator, McKenzie hopes to continue amplifying and fostering innovation in Madison. Several business partners are already set to rent out the new space — Lauren Montelbano of The Vibrant Veg, Shannon Berry and Miroslavaa Muñoz of Milpa, Jonathan Correa of La Cosecha and Ana Luyet and Carissa Mangerson of Tart.
McKenzie has aimed to support women-run farms and food businesses since she began Pasture and Plenty in 2017. She is also working with entrepreneurs and farmers of color. Growing a network and amplifying the important nonprofit work being done on issues of social and racial justice and equity are essential to deepen community impact, she says. In working toward this goal, McKenzie is collaborating with fundraisers and events such as Bakers Against Racism bake sales, cooking classes, meal kits for local families and Black Excellence programs for area schools.
“The work has enriched our view of food culture in Madison and has provided our Pasture and Plenty community a more diverse and delicious experience in events and menu options than we provided before,” McKenzie says. “The innovation and creative energy this focus brings is palpable and our community and our food culture is stronger when we commit to do this work ongoing and together.”
Construction for The P&P Makeshop starts this month. Currently, the community has raised more than $24,000 through a Kickstarter to help launch the project. They are hoping to raise $30,000. To learn more about the multiple ways to donate, check out the Pasture and Plenty website.
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