City leaders break ground on East Garfield Park food incubator

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago leaders are hoping a new food industry incubator will cook up new ideas and businesses, creating jobs and helping to revitalize the city's East Garfield Park neighborhood.

Food brings people together, and if all goes will it will also be bringing up to 900 jobs to East Garfield Park over the next five years.

"Our time has come! No longer will the West Side be disinvested," said Angela Taylor, Garfield Park Community Council, at the Hatchery groundbreaking.

Located at the corner of Lake and Kedzie, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those on hand Tuesday to break ground on The Hatchery. The facility will be 67,000 square feet, and aims to serve as an incubator for food entrepreneurs like Gina Jamison, who already runs a community garden selling pickled okra and her own homemade soups.

"I don't want to really have a facility. I just want to have a place to prepare my food so I can have it at different stores. That's my ideal," Jamison said.

Looking to train the next generation of food professionals, The Hatchery will also house Chef Rick Bayless' culinary training program for low-income students.

"They'll get a basic understanding, a basic knowledge of what it means to be in a kitchen, and therefore they can go and get an internship, a job, and from there the sky's the limit," said Andres Padilla, Frontera Hospitality Group.

Finally, in an attempt to draw people in and make the community more healthy and vibrant, The Hatchery will also become the new home to the local farmers market.

"You don't have to go to Jewel or Whole Foods, or Indiana or Michigan. Right here in Garfield," said Sam Taylor of the Garfield Park Neighborhood Market.

Once complete, The Hatchery aims to create 150 jobs just in its first year.
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