Guest Post: Jennifer Thornton Shares Local Abundance Kitchen’s 2019 Plans

We’re so proud to share that Local Abundance Kitchen turns two this month! In January 2017, we started offering cooking classes taught by local refugees and immigrants with the idea that we would become an entrepreneurial incubator for women. Back then, I could not have imagined just how much that would become a reality, but then I am reminded that our guiding verse is “exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think.” I am delighted to see how our original vision has evolved and grown, and we are now a 501(c)3 nonprofit with big dreams of doing more for this community of refugee women.

We just hosted our 30th cooking class which was conducted by Lina Alduroobi and Rasha Wahbi, sisters-in-law and Iraqi refugees who have been with us since the very beginning. They started strong, drawing 22 attendees to their very first cooking class, and have continued to grow. They now offer café lunches at Local Roots in Wooster, provide catering for numerous events, and run farmers market stands that typically sell out weekly!

Reflecting on the last few years, Lina said, “I learned a lot from the first class to now. I learned to be more professional and how to involve people with whatever we taught. It was amazing for me, and taught me to be a talented, good speaker and how to make it really easy for the attendees.” They have blossomed remarkably, as have so many other women who have been part of Local Abundance.

The start of a new year brings a refresh and new goals for our organization. In 2019, Local Abundance’s core group of refugee and immigrant participants will develop into fully independent culinary instructors and caterers offering a variety of authentic culturally-representative dishes, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. These women represent Nepal, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Iraq, Morocco, and more.

Local Abundance will also have an increasing presence at farmers markets and other locations where you can discover their ethnic eats, purchase Mousa’s black walnut dyed cotton tote bags, or our linen & leather aprons handcrafted in collaboration with Fatima, a Sudanese refugee, and a local nonprofit, Esperanza Threads.

These last two years would not have been possible without your support. As a nonprofit organization, all of our revenue comes from classes and our locally produced goods, all of which goes to the refugees and creates a meaningful income. Follow us on our social media and at localabundancekitchen.org for details on our upcoming classes, where to purchase our products, or to learn more about scheduling a private group class in your own home.

-Jennifer Thornton, Founder and Executive Director, Local Abundance Kitchen