Below is a curated collection of resources to support good food entrepreneurs.
Recognizing that local governments have opportunities to support food systems that promote economic viability, equitable community development and environmental sustainability, CRFS partnered in a national survey to assess the status of current involvement. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CRFS worked with the International City/County Management Association to develop and administer a comprehensive survey on the status of food-related policies, programs, partnerships and plans. Survey results provide insight into the ways and lenses through which local governments engage in food systems, which may be of interest to good food advocates seeking municipal or county support for their efforts.
The 2013 National Food Hub Survey, conducted by CRFS and the Wallace Center at Winrock International, was opened for response to food hub managers during February and March 2013. The survey was constructed using Qualtrics Research Suite software and administered online. The survey is now closed, but the information and questions provided in the survey are listed in this document.
Op-ed by Scott Sporte, Chief Lending Officer at Capital Impact Partners, a core partner in the Michigan Good Food Fund.
Released in 2012, this educational video visits Bear Lake Schools, sharing how they use local food in the Summer Food Service Program. The video is one in a series highlighting Farm to School best practices and innovations in Michigan, for use by Farm to School practitioners and community stakeholders.
Simple principles to aid small meat plants in deciding when to process one species over another.
This report gives the results of a national literature search that examined the most up-to-date studies of demand for locally produced meats. The authors suggest that the articles and publications highlighted in this document, which are specific to different regions of the United States and based on similar findings across the nation, likely echo some of the trends in similar socioeconomic regions in Michigan.
This guide helps demonstrate how food purchases impact communities and the connections between a community’s economic, ecological and social well-being with that of agriculture and food production, processing, distribution, retail, preparation and consumption.
A guide to the pros and cons of buying a food hub truck for distribution.
This Cultivate Michigan tour takes place at Barbara Norman’s Farm in Covert, Michigan and True Blue Farms Processing Plant in Grand Junction, Michigan. It features Barbara Norman, farmer and owner of Barbara’s Blueberry Patch, and Shelly Hartmann, owner of True Blue Farms Processing Plant. Norman and Hartman describe how their farms operate with a special kind of local connection that Cultivate Michigan strives to make more common.
The first part of this two-part Michigan Food Hub Network webinar is led by Darrow Isaacman-VanWertz, portfolio manager for Healthy Food Commerce Investments and presents the Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit developed by Wholesome Wave and how it can be used to assess strengths and weaknesses of individual Food Hubs. Following, MaryAnn Nisley, Marketing and Community Relations Specialist at Whole Foods, discusses their partnerships with small farmers and possibilities for working with Food Hubs in a similar capacity.
A template grocery store entrepreneurs can use to evaluate market competitors.
In this educational video, released in 2012, Country Dairy shows how they bring milk to local schools from the dairy in New Era, MI. The video is one in a series highlighting Farm to School best practices and innovations in Michigan, for use by Farm to School practitioners and community stakeholders.
This report details the growth and achievements of the Regional Food Systems Working Group in Iowa since 2003. The policy, funding, and capacity gains facilitated by that group’s collaborative work are a valuable model of the power of networks and relationship-building.
Detroit nonprofit wins Michigan Good Food Fund Impact Award at first ever Crain’s Food Summit. Read more about the event and Detroit Food Academy.
Learn about Detroit Public Schools’ extensive garden to cafeteria program, part of their Farm to School efforts. This video features Drew Farms, a school for cognitively impaired adults. It is one in a series highlighting Farm to School best practices and innovations in Michigan, for use by Farm to School practitioners and community stakeholders.
A guide to help local egg growers develop large-scale markets.
Increased fresh market sales of Michigan fruits and vegetables have been demonstrated to have the ability to significantly boost employment and personal income across the state through improve the profitability of the state’s valuable farmland, grow job opportunities across the economy, and improve public health. Eat Fresh and Grow Jobs examines the impact when existing farmers have doubled or tripled their sale of fruits and vegetables to fresh produce markets.
To address the current state and future direction of economic analysis with regard to local and regional food systems, CRFS and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program convened a meeting of a group of economists and local food researchers in early 2013. This webinar provided a synopsis of the meeting outcomes, with a focus on questions one should consider when conducting or commissioning a study on the economic impacts of local and regional food systems.
This brief, by CRFS and the Union of Concerned Scientists, provides a summary of the discussion that took place among economists and local food researchers at a meeting in early 2013. They gathered to examine how economic analyses of local and regional food systems are currently conducted and considerations for future studies. The brief includes recommendations for questions those commissioning a economic impact analysis of local or regional food may want to ask.
Economic Impacts of Local and Regional Food Systems: Response to Questions from May 20, 2013 Webinar
In May 2013, CRFS and the Union of Concerned Scientists hosted a webinar on the economic impact of local food. The large number of participants prevented the hosts and experts from answering each question posed during the time allotted for the webinar; this brief provides responses to those unanswered questions. CRFS coordinated responses from six economists who participated in the webinar. The brief also includes a bibiography compiled by Jeff O’Hara, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, featuring recent studies that examine the economic impact of local food.
The Emerging Farmers Initiative (EFI) supported beginning farmers in completing a year-long instruction program focused farm production and management classes. Upon course completion, the farmers had the opportunity to participate in a matched savings program (called Agriculture Individual Development Accounts) to generate equity in their farm businesses. Information on EFI and the success of the program can be found below.
CRFS surveyed Michigan vegetable farmers about their interest in and willingness to sell their products to institutional markets (K-12 schools, hospitals and colleges/universities), and motivators and barriers associated with this type of marketing; this document summarizes the results.
This document summarizes the results of several CRFS surveys on interest in local food purchasing by a variety of institutions in Michigan, as well as farmers’ interest in selling to such markets.
This survey summarizes Michigan early childcare and education programs’ interest in increasing good food access and awareness through Farm to School initiatives, from a 2012 survey of such programs.
As of February 2013, CRFS had conducted three surveys of schools’ interest in local food purchasing. The results summarized in this brief show that the 2012 survey indicate that Farm to School efforts continue to expand in Michigan.
In the fall of 2009, the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems (now CRFS) at Michigan State University conducted a follow-up survey to the 2004 Survey of K-12 School Food Service Providers in Michigan. The 2004 survey showed that Michigan K-12 School Food Service Directors (FSDs) were “ready and willing to make linkages to Michigan agriculture.” The 2009 survey, based on responses from 270 people (nearly one-third of all FSDs in Michigan), shows that many FSDs have since acted on this interest and are making Farm to School a reality.
The Michigan Electronic Grants System Plus (MEGS+) is an online application system for schools/districts participating in the National School Lunch Program. This brief outlines results of a two-part optional question on local food purchasing that the Michigan Department of Education added to the 2014 MEGS+ online application. Over half of the applicants (54%) responded affirmatively that they currently purchase local foods for their school food program.
CRFS’ fourth survey of schools’ interest in local food purchasing, conducted in 2013, shows that activity increased — up from 54% in the previous survey, 68% of school food service directors reported purchasing local foods through one or more channels — and interest in purchasing local foods in the future remained high. This brief outlines motivators and barriers to local food purchasing in schools, and details top food items in which schools are interested.
“In 2004, a survey sent to 664 FSDs across Michigan with 383 responding (58% response rate) consisted of twenty-four items assessing the following areas: purchasing practices; local sourcing; interest in local sourcing; and motivation, concerns and barriers to local sourcing.”
Michigan farmers and food service directors talk about their experiences with Farm to School sales as part of the Hoophouses for Health program in this educational webinar.
In this educational video, Olivet Community Schools hosts a farmer, Duane Morelan of Veges from the Ledges, in the cafeteria for Farm to School Month. The video is one in a series highlighting Farm to School best practices and innovations in Michigan, for use by Farm to School practitioners and community stakeholders.
The report below on financing farming in the United States was developed based on six meeting sessions, organized by the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems (now CRFS) at Michigan State University and The Carrot Project, held with stakeholders from across the country and designed to explore the reasons for the chasm between an emerging sector of smaller-scale agriculture producers and access to capital, and workable strategies to create successful farmer-lender relationships.
Financing Farming in the U.S. has explored financing and data issues with stakeholders across the country since 2009. This document reviews learnings from several years of FFUS-convened research and dialogue on financing production for regional food systems.
In June 2011, Financing Farming in the U.S. network members Susan Cocciarelli, with CRFS, and Patty Cantrell, of Regional Food Solutions, Inc., interviewed lenders from community development financial institutions and other organizations with experience in the small and midscale farm sector. This report details those interviews, which addressed a range of considerations involved in entering and participating in the sector as a lender, along with analysis of select loans, both successful and unsuccessful.
This report chronicles six working sessions, in 2009-2010, of a diverse group of people from across the country. Over a six-month period, the group explored the gap between an emerging sector of smaller-scale agriculture producers and access to capital, and devised workable strategies to create successful farmer-lender relationships.
Financing Farming in the U.S. is a national project of CRFS designed to help increase the flow of capital into the small- and mid-scale farming sector. The project’s second report, Financing Farming in the U.S.: Strengthening Metrics and Expanding Capital Access, illustrates successful lending practices among community development financial institutions and their strategic partners, and summarizes steps to expand capital in the sector.
The Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network hosted a webinar about two farm and food hub financing projects, the Shade Fund (part of The Conservation Fund) and the Northwest Michigan Farm and Food 20/20 Fund, in April 2013.
Seeking to determine the role that capital could play in assisting the growth of viable, smaller scale, diversified farm operations in Michigan, the CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems (now CRFS) at Michigan State University surveyed financial institutions, loan funds, and public entities in Michigan in order to determine familiarity and engagement between financing institutions and beginning farmers. The survey results, available in the report below, show that although there is financial capital available in Michigan, farmers face challenges accessing it.
In early 2013, CRFS and the Wallace Center at Winrock International conducted the National Food Hub Survey to identify economic growth trends for food hubs across the nation and monitor changes in services offered and the variety of customers served by food hubs. The 2013 National Food Hub Survey represents one of the most comprehensive data sets on food hub operations to date and details findings on topics such as the financial state of food hubs, the numbers and types of farmers and ranchers that they work with, and the types of customers they serve.
Originally hosted in September 2014, this webinar describes financial and operational lessons learned from the NGFN 2014 food hub benchmarking study. The presentation highlights how successful food hubs across the nation have achieved their mission and goals through financial and business metrics. Both were presented again by Chad Gerencer, Program Manager at Morse Marketing Connections, LLC, at the Michigan Food Hub Network statewide meeting in Ann Arbor on November 20, 2014.
Nick McCann talks about his experiences as Iowa State University’s Food System Value Chain Coordinator in Northeast Iowa and the successes and challenges of starting up a small food hub in rural Iowa. His business-oriented approach focuses on managing growth and maintaining cash flow. McCann also shares his expertise in distribution, logistics, meat processing, new product development, product aggregation and distribution, and accessing urban markets.
On June 13, 2013 the Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network hosted a webinar examining zoning and land use issues in identifying and developing sites for food hubs. The second portion of the presentation provided an overview of the state of Michigan’s $3 million Strategic Growth Initiative, which has an emphasis on building Michigan’s food processing industry, coordinated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In the first of two portions of the Food Hubs and Food Safety webinar hosted by the Michigan Food Hub Network, Byron Beerbower, with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, provides an overview of the proposed rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act, as it relates to Michigan, and the Food and Drug Administration’s comment process for these rules. The second of two recordings of the Food Hubs and Food Safety webinar hosted by the Michigan Food Hub Network, this portion of the webinar included several presentations.
This webinar is presented by Rich Pirog of CRFS and Marty Gerencer of Morse Marketing Connections, the co-conveners of the Michigan Food Hub Learning and Innovation Network. The presentation, designed for those with little to no knowledge of food hubs, discusses what a food hub is, their importance, an example, and the Michigan and national food hub networks.
Food innovation districts are places where food and agriculture-based businesses are encouraged to cluster together for greater synergy. This guide can help planners and other stakeholders in developing food innovation districts that promote positive business environments, spur regional food system development, and increase access to local food.
Public Management, the magazine of the International City/County Management Association, published a special issue on sustainability topics in June 2012. CRFS’ Laura Goddeeris contributed an article on motivations and opportunities for local governments around food systems, touching on themes such as resiliency, entrepreneurship and place-making.
This Garden to Cafeteria Guide provides an approach for school garden educators and stakeholders, both experienced and newcomer, to successfully source products from school gardens for use in the cafeteria or food program.
This document contains links to resources about mission/concepts, market analytics, workforce, product and infrastructure for grocery store entrepreneurs.
Learn how the Fund can support the growth of your grocery retail business.
Learn how the Fund can support the growth of your growing, packing, or distribution business.
Recent findings and research on the power of regional food systems for economic opportunity, featuring a case study about the Michigan Good Food Fund.
A guide to the Michigan Good Food Fund application process as well as a checklist of information that will be requested along the way.
Learn more about the Michigan Good Food Fund, a new public-private partnership loan and grant fund created to finance healthy food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities throughout Michigan.
Michigan Good Food Fund is building a network of preferred consultants to provide business assistance to Michigan-based good food enterprises.
Consultants are needed with expertise in a variety of areas including: Accounting / Financial Management; Business Planning; Retail / Grocery / Co-op Operations & Management; Food Processing / Production / Manufacturing; Food Safety Compliance; Licensing; Logistics & Operations; Marketing; And more. Preferred consultants will help fuel entrepreneurship across Michigan while growing their businesses in a mutually beneficial partnership.
To start the conversation about becoming a preferred consultant, follow the above link to access the application form. Email your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org. A Fund representative will review it to determine availability and fit. Note: A completed application does not guarantee a contract for work.
An infographic showing how the Michigan Good Food Fund responds to key challenges with a financing opportunity.
Michigan Good Food Fund Press Release – June 9, 2015.
Full program guidelines detailing requirements eligible applicants must meet along with priorities.
Program guidelines overview detailing requirements eligible applicants must meet along with priorities.
The Michigan Good Food Fund is a mission-driven fund with the following goals and priorities. Help us understand how your business aligns with them.
This directory provides an overview of various sources of financing that may be available to food hubs and local food related businesses. This directory is a partial listing of what may be available across the United States; some examples may not be a good match with your particular circumstances. The format for this directory was informed by a listing of funding resources for food-related businesses found on the Food+Tech Connect website, a media and research company building a network for food innovators and entrepreneurs. Most of the funding sources listed in this directory are available for food hubs and local food-related businesses across the United States, but several additional funding websites are specifically for Michigan. All the information for each funding entity has been researched through its own website.
Nearly 30 million Americans live in communities without access to supermarkets and affordable, healthy foods. Michigan Good Food Fund partner Capital Impact Partner’s new policy brief examines the federal government’s Health Food Financing Initiative to combat this shortfall through its support of Community Development Financial Institutions. The report also highlights success stories of projects that have expanded access to healthy foods in low-income communities.