New Community Kitchen Project Proposed in Downtown Tiffin

Exciting new initiative supported by organizations involving local food.

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 1, 2020 – A plan to invest $2.4 million in a community kitchen in Downtown Tiffin was announced today by Old Trinity Episcopal Church. The kitchen will focus on connecting local growers and businesses to the community, providing opportunities for groups to cook and eat together, housing a diverse set of cooking classes and creating ways to give back to the community by preparing food.

“Our Christian faith has taught us that breaking bread with our neighbors builds community. Working with others in our community to nurture healthy and life-giving relationships through preparing and sharing food fits with who we are,” said the Rev. Aaron Gerlach, pastor at Old Trinity Episcopal Church and board president of Seneca County Common Ground.

Seneca County Common Ground, a nonprofit organization operating the Tiffin-Seneca Farmers Market and leading other local food efforts, is one of the important relationships Old Trinity has formed while envisioning this project. Susan McCafferty, Senior Warden of Old Trinity said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Seneca County Common Ground and others in our community. This kitchen will be a welcoming space that facilitates Tiffin community members forging new relationships as they enhance their culinary skills.”

The kitchen space will be connected to the church building, 125 E. Market St., but will be a separate space with its own entrance. As well as being available to individuals and groups on a reservation basis, the kitchen will partner with the Tiffin-Seneca Farmers Market to serve locally grown food on market days and to teach community members ways of using local foods at home. Old Trinity and Common Ground look forward to utilizing the space with other local organizations who have been key in the shaping of the project.

The group has been working together since mid-2019 on the project.  Old Trinity has engaged its neighbors at the Seneca County Justice Center, including the judges and the Seneca County Commissioners. The project is contingent on the purchase of a portion of the county parking lot adjacent to the church and the Justice Center which would allow the kitchen’s footprint to expand just past the church’s current square footage. The parking for the Justice Center would also be enhanced and secured by a perimeter security fence and gate.

For information about the project or to find out how to support its development, contact Gerlach at RevGerlach@OldTrinityEpiscopal.com or call (567) 938-0102.

About Old Trinity Episcopal Church

Originally constructed in 1856, Old Trinity has been a staple in the Tiffin community for decades. The church worships in the Anglican beliefs centering on liturgy, tradition and intellectual response. It has from its beginning in Tiffin been attractive to community leaders. Tiffin’s first mayor, Henry Kuhn, was a member of this parish as well as many elected officials and community leaders throughout the years. The church has recently completed several projects including restoration of the stained-glass windows, renovation of the undercroft to accommodate parish and community functions and installation of an elevator. The central location and the community spirit of the congregation provide the incentive to the ministry of the space. Old Trinity Episcopal church is heavily invested in the community and continually looks for ways to provide value. Learn more at www.oldtrinityepiscopal.com.

About Seneca County Common Ground

Created in 2019, Seneca County Common Ground is a nonprofit organization supporting local food & agriculture and promoting access to fresh foods for Seneca County residents. The board of the organization includes Seneca County OSU Extension Agent Hallie Williams, Reverend Aaron Gerlach of Old Trinity Episcopal Church, local business owner and chair of the Downtown Retailers Committee Dave Spridgeon, local business leader Dale Depew, TSEP Development Manager Audrey Flood, and local food vendors Kristy Buskirk of Clay Hill Farms and John Riehm of Riehm Produce Farm. Seneca County Common Ground oversees the operations of the Tiffin Seneca Farmers Market and supports other local food initiatives. Our market manager is Courtney Heiser. Find out more at sccommonground.org or find Seneca County Common Ground on Facebook.

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

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