Kitchen incubator might have local savior

July 24, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

BROOKSIDE—Nuestra Culinary Ventures (NCV), a failed kitchen incubator program that was slated to close last month, has extended its stay at The Brewery complex and may have a savior in a new Jamaica Plain-based non-profit called Cropcircle, Inc.

Cropcircle president Jonathan Kemp, a JP resident, told the Gazette he “cannot confirm or deny” that his or-ganization is looking to rescue NCV, adding that there are “a lot of ongoing talks.”

Cropcircle’s mission is to promote sustainable, locally based food production and distribution, according to its corporation filing at the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office.

NCV is operated by Roxbury’s Nuestra Community Development Corporation (NCDC), another non-profit organiza-tion. NCDC Executive Director David Price did not return a Gazette phone call for this article.

Founded in 2002, NCV provided kitchen space at 284 Amory St. and business advice to start-up food service companies—a program known as a “business incubator.” But NCV had business troubles of its own, suffering operat-ing losses of nearly $1 million in its short life.

Earlier this year, Price told the Gazette that NCV would shut down on June 30, and that saving it would be virtually impossible due to its inherently flawed business model. NCV had received a financial bailout from the City of Boston in 2006, but that was not going to happen again.

But NCV is offering a two-day class this month, according to its web site, and is holding off its closing date until sometime in August, according to its landlord at The Brewery, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Develop-ment Corporation.

Kemp also declined to comment on any other possible activities of Cropcircle, saying only, “We’re in contract negotiations with three different places.”

Cropcircle was formally incorporated in January. According to the organization’s corporate filing, its ac-tivities may include: creating blogs and newsletters to connect farmers and customers; establishing “carbon-free” food delivery systems; and forming a “consortium of farms, artisans, restaurants, markets, and private customers to build a new sustainable model of food commerce.”

Cropcircle’s vice president is Wenzday Jane, the chief executive officer of the cargo-tricycle delivery com-pany Metro Pedal Power, which was profiled in the Gazette earlier this year for offering deliveries from the local City Feed and Supply markets.

Cropcircle’s directors include James Lionette, a JP resident who runs Lionette’s Market, a South End shop specializing in locally produced meats and other “local, clean and sustainable” foods.

Best of JP 2014