ARC Industries’ Sunapple Kitchens
2012-Present. Development of a project concept and job training program; community outreach; procedure and equipment research; vendor research and coordination; best practices management; licensing coordination; process management; marketing; ongoing project management.
ARC Industries; Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities; various local food entrepreneurs
ARC Industries’ Sunapple Kitchens started as a concept in late 2012 connecting the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities (FCBDD) adult population, who work at the Franklin County ARC Industry locations, with healthy food resources in central Ohio.
The concept: to repurpose the kitchens of the four ARC Industries facilities and partner ARC’s workforce with local food entrepreneurs who need a commercial kitchen and employees. The program is best described in this manner: “Sunapple Kitchens is a job training and employment project of Sunapple & Company, a branch of ARC Industries, Inc. Sunapple’s mission is to connect people with sustainable skills and marketable talents (who just happen to have disabilities) with the greater community, enabling both to flourish and grow. These unique facilities are dedicated to assisting local specialty food businesses to expand their capacity while creating jobs for ARC employees.”
The condition of each kitchen and its equipment was evaluated and refitted as needed. Two locations are licensed as specialty kitchens – Gluten Free Bakery and a Cannery. The other two locations are general use kitchens licensed in bakery, frozen foods, and catering. Checklists were created for each vendor to be in compliance with federal product ingredient traceability, DOA and FDA label requirements, container and product transportation requirements, and appropriate process authority compliance.
The project also addresses the job training portion of the program by pairing participating vendors with specific facilities and ARC program workers. For each vendor contract, the staff observes the food production process then trains participant workers to become the production workforce. The vendor can work alongside the folks in the kitchen or can turn the entire production over to the kitchen workers who have the skill to make, package, label, and box the products ready for shipping or pickup. The workers are paid an hourly wage.