PERU — People in the River Valley area who produce jellies, jams, sausages, meats and other foodstuffs are invited to an informational meeting on a possible processing facility in Peru.

The session begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the former Peru Elementary School in West Peru.

Marshall Piper, consumer protection inspector of the Maine Department of Agriculture, will describe how community kitchens operate and how licenses can be obtained. He will also answer any questions small businesses have about using a community kitchen.

The possibility of a shared community kitchen has been a long time in planning.

Nick Waugh, president of Friends of Peru Elementary School, said thoughts of establishing such a facility began while the school, which is now a community center, was still educating Peru children.

Friends of Peru Elementary School and the River Valley Growth Council, including Peru member Bill Hine and Rumford economic developer Jim Rinaldo, have worked together toward the potential venture.

Waugh said Piper has already inspected the building and the kitchen and both passed in August.

Friends of Peru Elementary School has applied for a community kitchen license and has the necessary insurance. Individual vendors or producers must also obtain the proper license as well as insurance for their businesses. Liability for their products remains with the individual business person.

A community kitchen provides not only approved space for individual food businesses, but also a lower cost for renters because utilities and other costs are shared by a group. A tour of the kitchen will be among the activities planned for Piper’s visit.

If this thing really takes off, we would invest more in it,” Waugh said.

Any food producer or food vendor who wants more information or wants to reserve a space to set up their business may call Waugh at 562-7287.

Transforming a portion of the former school into a community kitchen is one way of fulfilling the mission of the Friends of Peru Elementary School: preserve the building and make it a community center.

Several businesses or groups have rented space for activities, Waugh said.

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