Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

I love creative, interesting businesses that make a difference. I also love to eat. When you combine these two, that’s when things really start to get interesting. For a long time making a profit meant that you didn’t care about the community or changing the system. That is no longer the case.

I first visited Union Kitchen, near Gallaudet University, a few years ago. It seemed like a cool place — hip, but not pretentious, with different types of food to choose from and interesting people in front of, and behind, the counters. I didn’t realize how much more they had to offer and how big their mission was.

Find a need, fill it, and fill it again
It all started when co-founders Jonas Singer & Cullen Gilchrist, of The Blind Dog Café, needed a commercial kitchen, and moved into a warehouse that was too big. They looked for others to share the space and soon realized they had other needs in common. By offering membership and business services, Union Kitchen could help local businesses create and prosper, and contribute to building the city they wanted to live in. And so their focus grew — becoming a food incubator working to create a profitable, sustainable, and just food system.
It’s so much more than food
Union Kitchen has a mission to bring local products to market in a way that drives community development. Sprinkled around the city, you’ll find Union Kitchen’s grocery store, production facility, and pop-up shop. All of which are meant to touch a different aspect of food and the community.

Supporting local food trucks, restaurateurs, bakers, caterers, and food entrepreneurs Union Kitchen is able to serve them in a multitude of capacities, covers all the bases. Some of the local products you find at Whole Foods are thanks in part to them, and some members have even moved on to opening their own brick and mortar shops. They believe whole-heartedly in the Made in DC movement.

If you’re hungry, need a gift or ingredients, or are even a budding entrepreneur, Union Kitchen has something to offer. And you can be sure that you’re helping to create the community we want to live in. Visit to learn more about how they make local scalable.
This post first appeared on DC Ladies.