NGFN Webinars: Sustainable US Food System Models

 
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Dec 15, 2014

Quiet Before the Storm!

It's been a slow season at the NGFN Webinars... but it has NOT been slow in the Good Food world! The thousands of practitioners in the NGFN are making incredible process in getting healthy, fair, affordable, green food to all communities.

We are excited for the upcoming year of NGFN webinars! We have some incredible topics planned with the best minds, and the most experienced practitioners there to share their wisdom with you. We're not quite ready to announce most of them, but topics include looking at the roots of success and failure of food hubs, the "million dollar question" about how big an aggregator/distributor must be to be viable, creative ways to access capital, updates on the Food Safey Modernization Act, and more, more, more! This is looking to be onw of the most exciting years of webinars to date!

Here's one we are ready to announce!

January 22, 2015

Talk Is Cheap … and Efficient - Facilitating value chain development without costly new infrastructure

Register Now!

Let's face it: food hubs are sexy! So are other Good Food infrastructure projects, such as region-scaled meat processing plants.

And for good reason: these businesses are often filling gaps or bottlenecks in regional and local food systems.

However, those of us who support Good Food systems across the country are noticing that sometimes it's not a LACK of infrastructure that leads to bottlenecks - it is incomplete or inefficient USE of the infrastructure.

This webinar digs DEEP into many ways people are building a stronger Good Food system... without actually BUILDING anything!

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AND AS ALWAYS - review our large and growing library of recorded webinars: http://ngfn.org/webinars

Sep 26, 2014

Continuing to Build Capacity of Good Food

The NGFN webinar series continues to provide timely, pertinent information to people working hard to change the food landscape to one that has more abundant food that is heathier for people, helathier for the economy, healthier for communities, and healthier for the planet. This summer's webinars continue to inspire people to work smarter, bolstering thier passion with actionable best practices.

You are always free to watch our archives at http://ngfn.org/webinars.

July 24, 2014: Making IT Click: Choosing Appropriate Technology to Run Your Good Food Business

Good Food businesses are complicated. There are many types of exchanges that a business must track accurately, including money, food, plans, etc. And there are a large number of constituents that need to these goods or information - growers, buyers, consumers, drivers, and warehouse personnel to name a few.

In the 21st century, we must use software to ensure all pieces of our business are accurately served. But how do you choose the right technology to help run your business? A solution that does not fit your business could well cost a lot of money, and worse, lost productivity.

The first step in choosing the right solution is a deep understanding of your own business. With the right analysis you can make technology choices with greater speed, and with confidence. This webinar gives you the tools to perform an accurate analysis of your business technology needs. Although the presentation focuses on food hubs (arguably one of the more complicated Good Food businesses, as a "middle man" interacting with all pieces of the food system), the same theories apply to ALL businesses. 

 

August 21, 2014: Ins-TRUCK-tion Manual: Lease, Buy, or Other?

One major expense of food hubs (and many other Good Food businesses, including farms) is vehicles. How do you decide whether to lease or own? There are many expenses including repair, resale value, potential lost business due to malfunction, typical delivery miles, frequency of delivery, garage fees, etc... How do you weigh all of the financials in a clear way? Farm Credit of the Virginias and Farm Credit Council will present their tool that will give you a definitive financial answer to that question. 

... and then there is a third option: neither lease nor own, but using a third-party trucking company. Though it may seem counter intuitive, there are many cases where this option is the most reliable, and the most cost effective solution. Dennis Derryck of Corbin Hill Food Project, relates their story of trying all three options, and found great efficiencies, including monetary, using a third-party logistics company.

This webinar takes you through theory and practice of making the right decision for your business.

September 4, 2014: Putting Local on the Menu- Five Best Practices and a Cost Calculator Training

Several institutional cafeterias and mid-priced restaurants are using clever techniques to source substantial amounts of local food, while maintaining their own affordability and profitability. This webinar, led by Anthony Flaccavento, will present the results ofSCALE Inc.'s research into how these kitchens are successfully putting local on the menu, while staying within their tight budgets.

Prioritizing local food while keeping costs reasonable is part art, and part science. This webinar honors that by illustrating some of the art with case studies, while presenting the 'science' in the form of a new tool.

The first half of the webinar reveals five best practices that showed up across SCALE's study. The driving forces behind The Root Café (Little Rock, AR) and Carlton College (Northfield, MN) will illustrate how they are using each of these techniques to get significant quantities of local food into their kitchens.

The second half of the webinar presents a tool, developed by SCALE, Inc. that enables buyers and local foods advocates to accurately determine the cost of local buying down to the level of per plate or menu item costs. We will step you through how and why to use this tool.

September 25, 2014: Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014

Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable.

But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses?

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, through our partners at Farm Credit East, Farm Credit Council and Morse Marketing Connections, has collected and analyzed financial and operational data from dozens of hubs across the country, creating the second food hub benchmarking study. The pilot 2013 study showed good promise for our methodology, and this year's study has several times the number of participants, giving us a much better picture of how food hubs operate.

This webinar describes the lessons learned from the recent benchmarking study of food hub financial and operational characteristics. The presentation highlights how successful food hubs across the nation have achieved their mission and goals through financial and business metrics.

Understanding this study will benefit all manner of people interested in regional food systems. For instance, food hub operators will be able to identify performance standards and improvement strategies. Farmers who attend the webinar will gain a better understanding of their ability to access new markets through food hubs, and researchers and local food advocacy organizations will benefit from this webinar’s business-based analysis of food hub functions and operational issues. Private lenders and public sector funders will gain insight on strategic investment strategies for food hubs that will lead to positive economic and sustainable outcomes.

Jul 1, 2014

A Summer of Decision Aids

This summer NGFN turns its resources to giving people solid techniques for making well-educated, strategic decisions. Good Food businesses have a TRIPLE bottom line to answer to, making it even more critical to make the right decisions about fundamental business investments. This summer we look at two top investments (technology and trucks), with an emphasis on food hubs, though the principles apply to any business.

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Byte Sized: Choosing Appropriate Technology to Run Your Good Food Business -Register now!
Thursday, July 24, 3:30-4:45 ET

Good Food Businesses are complicated. There are many types of exchanges that a business must track accurately, including money, food, and many types of information. And there are a large number of constituents that need to have all of the right things - growers, buyers, consumers, drivers, and warehouse personnel to name a few.

In the 21st century, we must use software to ensure all pieces of our business are accurately served. But how do you choose the right technology to help run your business? A solution that does not fit your business well could cost a lot of money, and worse, lost productivity.

The first step in choosing the right solution is a deep understanding of your own business. With the right analysis you can make technology choices with greater speed, and with confidence. This webinar will give you the tools to perform an accurate analysis of your business technology needs. Although the presentation will focus on food hubs (arguably one of the more complicated Good Food businesses, as a "middle man" interacting with all pieces of the food system), the same theories apply to ALL businesses.

Your donations keep these Free! Register now!

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Ins-TRUCK-tion Manual: Lease, Buy, or Other? Register Now!
Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM EDT

How do you decide whether to lease, own or outsource your trucking?

As we talk to food hubs across the country this question comes up over and over again. Farm Credit of the Virginias and Farm Credit Council have created a new tool that will give you a definitive financial answer to that question.

Moreover, this same type of analysis can be used for any food operation that involves equipment, from farming to processing and beyond.

This webinar will take you through theory and practice of making the right decision for your business.

Your donations keep these Free! Register now!

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AND WATCH OUR RECENT ARCHIVES

Kept free by your generous donations.

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Community-Based Food Business Financing

In Austin, Texas a group of folks hungry for local food have cracked the code to access capital – looking to the community. Using a cooperative model they are continuing to innovate. Starting with the knowledge gained from such ventures as a co-op grocer, their success led them to experiment with opening a co-op brew pub. This venture has been another striking success, and are now working to open a cooperative food hub.

This webinar starts with the basics of what a co-op is, how it works, and then discusses accessing community-based capital through what is called a Member Investor Share Offering (MISO, also known as a Direct Public Offering or DPO). By leveraging the dollars from the community, they have been able to finance the start-up and beginning operations of innovative co-ops. Hear what the organizers of these businesses believe to be the secrets to their success, and some suggestions on how you might consider financing your planned operation in this way.

Watch now!

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Net Value: An Innovative Approach to the Seafood Supply Chain

As a fisherman, business as usual means heading out to sea, battling the elements, catching as much as you can, and heading back inland to sell what you caught on auction. You do not know what will sell, and you do not know what price it will fetch.

As an institutional, retail or other mid-scale buyer you are also at the mercy of the auction. Budgeting is difficult, and there is generally no means to assure that the fish you are buying has the attributes you value, such as being sustainably caught, allowable bycatch, etc.

Open Ocean Trading created an innovative online marketplace, called FYSH-X, that allows buyers and sellers to trade commercially harvested and farmed seafood products in forward time. This value chain approach means that fishermen can leave the docks secure in the profitability of their trips by locking into a price and selling all or a portion of a catch in advance. And buyers are empowered by having prices they can budget for, and by being able to negotiate directly with vessels for any attributes that are important to them.

In this webinar hear the history and context of the fish trading business, and how the Open Ocean Trading marketplace works. A seller (a fisherman) and an institutional buyer speak from their perspectives about how FYSH-X has changed their businesses. And as always, we end with questions and answers.

Watch now!

Apr 9, 2014

Upcoming Spring Webinar

Upcoming Spring Webinar

We’re kicking off the season with a look at seafood in our upcoming free webinar on Thursday, April 17 3:30-4:45pm EST, Net Value: An Innovative Approach to the Seafood Supply Chain. Register now!

As a fisherman, business as usual means heading out to sea, battling the elements, catching as much as you can, and heading back inland to sell what you caught on auction. You do not know what will sell, and you do not know what price it will fetch. As an institutional, retail or other mid-scale buyer you are also at the mercy of the auction. Budgeting is difficult, and there is generally no means to assure that the fish you are buying has the attributes you value, such as being sustainably caught, allowable bycatch, etc.

Open Ocean Trading created an innovative online marketplace, called FYSH-X, that allows buyers and sellers to trade commercially harvested and farmed seafood products in forward time. This value chain approach means that fishermen can leave the docks secure in the profitability of their trips by locking into a price and selling all or a portion of a catch in advance. And buyers are empowered by having prices they can budget for, and by being able to negotiate directly with vessels for any attributes that are important to them.

In this webinar we'll hear the history and context of the fish trading business, and how the Open Ocean Trading marketplace works. We'll also have a fisherman and a buyer speak from their perspectives about how FYSH-X has changed their businesses. And as always, we'll have lots of time for your questions to be answered.

Register now!

2014 National Food Hub Conference: Building Capacity for Healthy Regional Food Systems

Last month, the Wallace Center and the NGFN Food Hub Collaboration hosted the National Food Hub Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Over 400 food hub managers and staff, government and public agencies, representatives from and partner organizations, technical assistance providers, and funders gathered in Raleigh from 48 states for almost 40 workshops and “nuts and bolts” trainings, networking opportunities, peer-to-peer learning, and so much more! Many local food hubs and partner organizations hosted site visits, 11 local farms and 2 food hubs provided delicious food, and participants enjoyed plenaries with state and federal-level government and nonprofit representatives, including Mike Taylor (Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA), Dr. Jill Long Thompson (Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration), and Doug O’Brien (Deputy Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development).

Session descriptions are posted (http://ngfn.org/hubs2014), and we are adding sound recordings and slides as they are available.

Check out our archived webinars:

Build, Prepare, Invest: Assessing Food Hub Businesses for Investment Readiness
Whether you are an investor considering making an investment in food hubs, a food hub operator preparing for an investment, or a policymaker looking to better understand the food hub sector, Wholesome Wave’s Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit provides you with the tools to evaluate a food hub business’ readiness for investment.

In this webinar, we introduce the Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit, which provides a framework for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of food hubs in the areas of business model and strategy, impact potential, market overview, marketing and sales, operations, organization and management, risk mitigation, technology and systems, and finance. The webinar provides an overview of the business assessment process and explore certain areas in depth, presenting Farm Fresh Rhode Island as a case study. 

Wholesome Wave’s Healthy Food Commerce Investments division directs capital and business development assistance to food hubs in order to expand the channels for local food so farms can more reliably, safely, and efficiently sell product within their region to wholesale buyers and institutions like hospitals, schools, and large dining outlets.

Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners
As we look to scale up the amount of healthy, fair and sustainable local and regional food in our food system, it becomes increasingly important to have storage and delivery mechanisms capable of getting the food to consumers. This infrastructure is very expensive, and the logistics required for efficient use of the resources is very complex.

Food banks across the country have trucks and warehouse space, including cold storage, and have been solving the logistics problem for decades, however traditionally with commodity food, often processed. This is beginning to change.

Several food banks across the country are acutely aware of the benefits of fresh, local food to their consumers, and their community, and are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Presentations from FoodLink in New York, the Sacramento Food Bank and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Assessment Tools for Improving Farmer Financial Skills
Farming is a business, but many farmers are not familiar with many of the tools available to manage their farm finances. The first crucial step to intelligent financial decisions is assessing your current situation, and understanding your historical trends.

This webinar focuses on three assessment-centered tools and programs. First, a tool for farmer trainers themselves - to assess the strengths of the trainer’s knowledge as well as assess students’ knowledge at the outset and their subsequent progress. Second, how Annie's Project, a highly successful program for women farmers, integrates such an assessment tool as a part of the curriculum. And third, an entry level training tool that walks farmers through farm business cash flow analysis in an approachable way.

Assessment is not the end goal of beginning farmer training.  However, assessment is fundamental to the success of financial skills education by providing a measurable feedback loop for improvement, adjustment, and documentation of effectiveness.

Jan 13, 2014

Spring Food Hub Webinars

The National Good Food Network is hosting a great line-up of webinars this spring, beginning with a webinar with Wholesome Wave Investments: “Getting Your Bucks in a Row - the Food Hub Due Diligence Toolkit” on Thursday, February 20 3:30-4:45pm EST. Register now!

The Healthy Food Commerce Investments program of Wholesome Wave has been studying food hubs, and the viability of several individual hubs. This webinar presents a distillation of their work - what makes a solid, invest-able hub business? One key element of food hubs is that they are businesses. Food hub managers, potential investors, and food hub supporters will all benefit hugely from this work, and this presentation.

And don’t forget about the Food Hub Conference March 26-28 in North Carolina! The conference will feature multiple tracks for food hub managers and staff; networking and learning for support organizations, consultants and agencies; "Ask an Expert" - slots of one-on-one time to dig deep with various technical assistance experts; food hub and food business tours; opportunities to learn from your peers, network, and feel a part of an incredibly energetic community; and excellent local food from Eastern Carolina Organics, Firsthand Foods, and other local suppliers.

Webinars from the archives:

Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners
As we look to scale up the amount of healthy, fair and sustainable local and regional food in our food system, it becomes increasingly important to have storage and delivery mechanisms capable of getting the food to consumers. This infrastructure is very expensive, and the logistics required for efficient use of the resources is very complex.

Food banks across the country have trucks and warehouse space, including cold storage, and have been solving the logistics problem for decades, however traditionally with commodity food, often processed. This is beginning to change.

Several food banks across the country are acutely aware of the benefits of fresh, local food to their consumers, and their community, and are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Presentations from FoodLink in New York, the Sacramento Food Bank and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Assessment Tools for Improving Farmer Financial Skills
Farming is a business, but many farmers are not familiar with many of the tools available to manage their farm finances. The first crucial step to intelligent financial decisions is assessing your current situation, and understanding your historical trends.

This webinar focuses on three assessment-centered tools and programs. First, a tool for farmer trainers themselves - to assess the strengths of the trainer’s knowledge as well as assess students’ knowledge at the outset and their subsequent progress. Second, how Annie's Project, a highly successful program for women farmers, integrates such an assessment tool as a part of the curriculum. And third, an entry level training tool that walks farmers through farm business cash flow analysis in an approachable way.

Assessment is not the end goal of beginning farmer training.  However, assessment is fundamental to the success of financial skills education by providing a measurable feedback loop for improvement, adjustment, and documentation of effectiveness.

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Organization

Winrock International

Little Rock, AR, United States
http://www.winrock.org

Project Leader

Jeff Farbman

Program Associate
Arlington, VA United States

Where is this project located?