The Knox County Farmers Alliance, a group of farmers and food producers dedicated to bolstering agriculture networking and partnerships in the area, is sponsoring a panel discussion on commercial kitchen funding, design, and access for Knox and Lincoln counties. The event will be held Wednesday, Jan. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Union Town Hall’s downstairs meeting room. It is free and open to the public.

The purpose of the meeting is to gauge the regional interest level in value-added food processing and evaluate strategies for small businesses to gain commercial kitchen access. Anyone who is interested in making and selling value-added food products — farmers and non-farmers alike — is welcome to attend.

In the first part of the meeting, a panel of speakers will introduce the group to the topic.  Panel members include Marshall Piper from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Amy Winston from Coastal Enterprises Inc. and Ron DeRosiers of Time & Tide RC&D. The presenters were selected due to their experience inspecting, designing and funding shared-use commercial kitchens. The second part of the meeting will be a discussion space for group members to think about how they might want to collaborate on finding access to a commercial kitchen.

The Union Town Office is located at 567 Common Road, just off Route 17. Parking is available in the lot behind the office, and the meeting is in the basement. Light refreshments will be served; attendees can take their own food as well. This meeting is sponsored in part by Aldermere Farm in Rockport. For more information call 236-2379 or e-mail jbeach@mcht.org.