The Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen provides an accessible space for startup food businesses looking to take their business to the next level. The licensed kitchen is open 24/7 to rent for affordable hourly rates and offers professional-grade equipment. Growing Hope helps our kitchen renters navigate food safety regulations, permitting, and facilitates connections to new retail markets.


The following steps are required to rent the Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen:

1.Tour the facility and meet with our MarketPlace Manager, Elisa Marroquin. To get in touch fill out the Kitchen Rental Inquiry Form and tell us more about what you would like to do in our kitchen.

2. A ServSafe Manager’s Certificate Food Safety course is required and proof of completing a ServSafe Manager’s Certificate is required.

3. Register your business with the State of Michigan (the cost varies depending on what type of business you establish; applications can be found at This process will provide you with the necessary EIN/Tax ID Number needed for your business.

After you have taken a tour and completed the registration of your business and the ServeSafe course follow these steps: 

  1. Apply for and be inspected for your Food License through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) or Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD).  
    • Packaged products require licensing by MDARD. Contact MDARD AT 1-800-292-3939. Be sure to read MDARD’s New Business Guide prior to contacting them.  
    • Ready-to-eat products require licensing by WCHD. Contact WCHD at 734-222-3800.
    • We can help you identify which category your product falls under if you are unsure.
    • You cannot utilize kitchen space until you have been inspected and approved by MDARD or WCHD.
  2. Create Standard Operating Procedures and Critical Control Points for making your product; you will need these for your MDARD inspection/licensing.

3. Purchase insurance. Growing Hope requires a $1 Million general liability policy that names Growing Hope as co-insured; such insurance policies generally run between $300-$500 per year and will be required by many events, retailers, vendors, and businesses you work with. You will need to provide a copy of your insurance certificate before starting in the kitchen

4. Pay a $100 security deposit (you will pay this after you are accepted but before you begin working).

5. Once all requirements are met (license and insurance completed, deposit paid, and Agreement formally signed by you and our MarketPlace Manager) you may reserve time in our kitchen. At that time, you can both revisit kitchen and storage needs (e.g., freezer space, refrigerator space, dry storage shelving, etc.).

6. Once you have applied for the appropriate license and obtained liability insurance, contact our MarketPlace Manager and your respective licensing agent (from MDARD or WCHD) to schedule use of the kitchen for the licensing inspection meeting. 

  • The meeting with your licensor will take place in the Incubator Kitchen and will last around 1‐2 hours. During this time, the licensor will observe your food preparation and offer suggestions and guidance. At the end of the licensing meeting, the licensor may approve you immediately (and give you a temporary license) or require additional steps. A flat rate of $25/hour will be charged for the licensing meeting.       
  • Note: Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your licensing meeting to receive a kitchen orientation from our MarketPlace Manager. This will include a review of our procedures, introduction to our kitchen equipment and supplies, and generally getting familiar and comfortable with the space. Doing this in advance of your licensing meeting will enable you to make efficient use of your time with the licensor.

 Kitchen Rental Checklist:  

  • Tour the Ypsilanti Farmers Marketplace facility
  • Provide ServSafe Manager’s certificate
  • Secure commercial liability insurance
  • Apply for commercial licensing (MDARD or WCHD)
  • Schedule a kitchen orientation and a licensing meeting to follow
  • Obtain license through licensing meeting
  • Pay $100 deposit
  • Sign the Kitchen Rental Agreement form
  • Schedule and reserve kitchen space with MarketPlace Manager

Growing hope Incubator kitchen


Upcoming Events

10:00 am Family Farm Days @ Growing Hope Urban Farm
Family Farm Days @ Growing Hope Urban Farm
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Family Farm Days @ Growing Hope Urban Farm
On September 23rd & October 7th from 5-7pm and September 30th & October 14th from 10-12pm we are opening our farm for a fun, interactive visit for families in the Ypsi area. Take learning outside![...]
9:00 am Open Air Ypsilanti Farmers Market @ Ypsilanti Freighthouse Plaza
Open Air Ypsilanti Farmers Market @ Ypsilanti Freighthouse Plaza
Oct 3 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Open Air Ypsilanti Farmers Market @ Ypsilanti Freighthouse Plaza
The Ypsilanti Farmers Market in Depot Town opens June 20th! The Saturday market will be the only open air Ypsi Market in 2020. The Tuesday market will remain online only until further notice. More info[...]
all-day Bountiful Harvest: An Auction to... @ Virtual Event
Bountiful Harvest: An Auction to... @ Virtual Event
Oct 6 – Oct 13 all-day
Bountiful Harvest: An Auction to Benefit Growing Hope @ Virtual Event
In order to fundraise as safely as possible this fall, we are holding an online auction from October 6 to October 13. Bountiful Harvest, an Auction to Benefit Growing Hope, will offer exciting food, farming, restaurant,[...]

Bountiful Harvest: An Auction to Benefit Growing Hope

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