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Member Spotlight: Walter Bonham

Walter Bonham's mission is to build, grow, and feed. To build accessible urban farming structures as well as the community, to grow nutritious, fresh produce for the community to enjoy, and to feed the community not only physically, but with education, as well. Walt has many projects across his mission to build, grow, and feed, and uses the Entrepreneur's Kitchen portion of Idea+Works, located in the lower level of 13 Park Avenue West in Mansfield, for the "feed" aspect.

The Food Lab is Walter's catering company. He creates fresh, delectable meals using local ingredients to provide both large gatherings and single meal preps for the Mansfield community. He is willing to prepare whatever his clients may want, while sticking to the principles of high quality, locally-sourced ingredients and good, healthy food. Walt was inspired to create The Food Lab after seeing how ingredients were handled from an industrial aspect, going from supplier to store to home to meal, and he wanted to help others make better nutrition choices. Walter can be reached at 419-295-3253 or waltbonham@gmail.com to discuss catering and meal prep options.

Walter won 3rd place during the Mansfield Startup Weekend last September. His project for Startup Weekend was called Feed Me Better, which is an offshoot of The Food Lab. His goal was to provide meal prep for the community at large, and focus specifically on institutions such as hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes. Using fresh, local, sustainable ingredients, he wanted to demonstrate how eating locally not only helps the area economically, but by choosing fresh food over fast food, one can make healthier, cost-effective lifestyle choices.

Walter feels that the Entrepreneur's Kitchen has benefited him both financially and time-wise. With the many projects Walt is a part of, his time is precious and needs to be focused on more than the upkeep of a traditional kitchen. It also helps him invest more resources into providing sustainable food sources and creating great food instead of having to purchase and maintain costly kitchen appliances. Since The Food Lab is only part of Walt's overall mission to build, grow, and feed, it provide him a place to prepare meals while giving him the chance to invest in other parts of his mission for Mansfield.

The Entrepreneur's Kitchen is a 1,500 square-foot kitchen space that is fully compliant with all regulatory agencies, including the Richland County Public Health Department, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the FDA. It features all the amenities a culinary specialist may need, such as a walk-in freezer and cooler, convection ovens, commercial mixers, and plenty of workspace for preparing delicious foods. Essentially, it's a kitchen for rent. Caterers, food trucks, bakers, and small food business owners all benefit from having a cutting-edge commercial kitchen where they can focus on doing what they love, without the financial burden of having to purchase all of the equipment themselves.


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