Conscientious Cook: La Cocina, San Francisco, CA

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La Cocina is a non-profit organization that provides commercial kitchen space and business resources to help low income women (mostly recent immigrants) take their small, home-based food businesses legit.

For example, the lady that sells tamales from her cart outside the 24th St. BART station could apply to the program, receive help writing a business plan, advice on packaging, nutritional information and marketing and begin selling her tamales at the farmers' market, Bi-rite, Rainbowor maybe even Whole Foods.

I recently met two of the women in the program and tried their wares. Both had really strong products that were entirely unique and swoonily delicious. Claire's Squares, buttery shortbreads covered in caramel and chocolate, were recently featured on Daily Candy. And, Kika's Treats, little Brazilian honey cakes coated in crackly chocolate are available at Rainbow grocery. Kika's Treats also makes chocolate covered homemade graham crackers. Here's a list of all the current clients of La Cocina.

If you're looking for someplace food-related to volunteer, they need people with expertise in a variety of areas. And I'm sure they wouldn't turn down a cash donation if you're looking to give. You can also show your support by buying those great products.

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