Taproot is engaged in several projects to better serve the Lopez Island community. Most of these have to do with food security infrastructure but also, and no less importantly, are the programs intended to help people gain the skills and knowledge they need to feed and support their families.
Food Preservation Program
The Food Preservation Program (FPP) is a collaboration between Taproot and Lopez Island Family Resource Center (LIFRC), with strong support from the Lopez Locavores. In tandem with LIFRC’s Gleaning Program, the mission of FPP is to reduce food waste and increase reliable access to nutritious food for the Lopez Island community. FPP team members and volunteers collect surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste, preserve it and distribute it to community members for free at the Lopez Food Share. This includes produce harvested right here on Lopez, donated by farmers, gardeners, and orchard owners in our own community! We also seek to educate and equip Lopezians who want to learn to preserve their own food with educational opportunities and access to Taproot’s state-of-the-art food preservation equipment. FPP’s mission is a collaborative one that thrives in relationship with several parts of our island’s food ecosystem.
Cook Room — Building Permit approved on April 24 2023 ! Learn More
Project to expand Taproot’s operational capability by adding a commercial gas range, ovens and larger scale steam jacketed kettle. We submitted the plans to the San Juan County Building Department and going through the process of getting them approved.
The project is basically converting existing storage units at Lopez Storage into one large room that will have a proper fire-suppression hood on one end plus lots of room for processing and storage. The hood is designed to have quick-connect connections to propane and electricity. We borrowed this concept from other shared-use facilities where different users need various types of equipment. Movable tables and shelves will allow each kitchen user to arrange things for their operation. Open storage allows users to expand and shrink their storage needs as the seasons cycle.
Mentorship program — in progress! Learn More
We’ve assembled a team of food industry experts to begin its farmer and value-added food producer mentoring program. We plan to bring together a group of program participants and help guide them through the challenges and joys of food product creation, food safety, business set-up, pricing, marketing and other topics which participants may request. Learn more about the Mentorship program.
Walk-in Freezer — Completed in 2022
The walk-in freezer installation is complete! This offers food processors and vendors space for short and long term storage of frozen foods. Frozen storage is an important aspect of local food security. The San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild obtained this unit via a USDA grant. Local volunteers assembled the box and the utility connections were made by Mike Hobi, owner of Hobi Plumbing, and Jeff Hein, owner of Lopez Island Electric. Check out our kitchen use and storage pricing for more information on renting space.
Backup generator — Completed in 2022
We all know that power can go out in the islands for many hours, even days, at time. Out backup generator provides continuous electrical power to the walk-in refrigerator and freezer when (not if) electrical power goes out on the island for extended periods. The generator project was funded by a USDA Rural Business Development Grant
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