Last week I got an email that started:
Hi Jeff – First, thanks for all you’re doing to help us in the field who are trying to make the local food and economic development connections work for our communities! Your webinars and newsletters have been very helpful.
It's feedback like that (and the hundreds and hundreds of people who register for our webinars) that let us know that our hard work is paying off, and people are really finding great value in our webinars.
May 16: Starting a Food Hub: Successful Hubs Share Their Stories - Register now!
Food hubs hold great promise for a myriad of positive community impacts - economic development and job creation, farmland preservation, environmental sustainability... the list goes on.
But how do you start a food hub?
This webinar brings together the stories of the formation and first year of three different, successful food hubs. Our presenters will share some of the best decisions they made … and some of the worst. What types of contacts did they feel really helped their business to thrive? How much money did they need, and how did they get it? Why did they choose their incorporation status? And more...
If you are an emerging hub - in the planning stages - or work with groups who are considering forming a food hub, please join us for inspiration and instruction.
June 20: Raising Dough: Financing for Food - Register now!
"Raising Dough," a band-new book (available for pre-order now), is an encyclopedic treatment of different options food business have for acquiring capital. Elizabeth U, the author of this landmark book, leads an interactive session on how one chooses the right financial instruments for their food business.
And our archives:
April 25, 2013: Opportunity Knocks: Two Underutilized USDA Programs For Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems
Are you a for-profit business, a nonprofit, or a state, local or tribal government looking to finance a local or regional food system project? Listen to this webinar to learn about two USDA programs you may never have heard of: the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program and the Community Facilities Loan and Grant program. USDA Rural Development can provide significant funding and technical assistance for local and regional food system infrastructure – and applications are being accepted now. Learn from USDA program experts and recipients who have successfully used these programs on this webinar.
Special guest: Kathleen Merrigan, outgoing Deputy Secretary of USDA and a champion of local and regional food systems.
April 18, 2013: Local Meats Processing: Successes and Innovations
Local meat and poultry can’t get to market without a processor, but processors are pulled in many directions: Farmers would like more processing options, the kind of processing needed depends on the market the regulations are complex regulations, and even with premium-priced meats, the profit margins are slim.
So how can local meat processing survive ... and even thrive? Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders and co-coordinators of the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, will share the results of their research on this topic, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country.
We’ll also hear from several regional support efforts to improve access to local processing: Kathleen Harris, of the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company; Casey McKissick, of NC Choices and the Carolina Meat Conference; and Chelsea Bardot Lewis, of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Vermont Meat Processing Task Force.
March 28, 2013: One Page Risk Management Plan
You probably know that business and financial planning can increase the financial performance of your farm, help you understand your business by being able to compare it to similar businesses, reduce your financial risk, increase your time efficiency, and improve your operation in other ways.
So why aren’t you planning?
Chances are you would like to make plans for your future, but it’s difficult to understand where to begin. This webinar gives you three powerful, yet simple tools to begin the planning process for your farm. Each tool is just one page, but employing them will clarify your vision of your business, enable you to make well-considered financial decisions, and cut through confusion of what to do next when presented with day-to-day challenges.
This webinar explains the theory and take you through how one farm might use these tools to focus and succeed in farming.
February 21, 2013: On-farm Food Safety and Access to Larger Markets
For recording, slides, presenter bios and more, visit this webinar's full pageOn-farm food safety is on the mind of those looking to support the success of small and mid-sized, sustainable producers. We dig into two cutting edge issues:
More and more wholesale and institutional buyers are requiring on-farm food safety certification, making these markets extremely difficult to participate in for smaller farmers due to the expense of GAP auditing. The Wallace Center is working with USDA to identify and run several pilots at food hubs of a group GAP approach. Instead of the current "one farm, one audit" protocol, participants in a group GAP audit have their shared food safety system audited, and are audited as one body. This method opens markets to producers who would otherwise be priced out.
The Food and Drug Administration just released two proposed rules outlining new standards for produce safety and preventive controls for food processing and manufacturing. These two rules, along with existing food safety regimes, create a maze of challenges for the development and growth of local and regional food systems. Learn about the new proposed rules, models for addressing food safety, and how to get involved in supporting sustainable food systems and safe food.
Steve Warshawer, NGFN Food Safety Coordinator
Ariane Lotti, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition