Wayne County, Ohio

Feasibility study for a non-profit
to support food producers

Photo courtesy Natalie Friedrich 

Wayne County, Ohio

Feasibility study for a non-profit
to support food producers

Photo courtesy Natalie Friedrich 

Wayne County, Ohio

Feasibility study for a non-profit
to support food producers

Photo courtesy Natalie Friedrich 

Project Summary

Sustainable Economies Consulting, LLC. is part of a diverse network of partners involved in the creation of a non-profit business incubator that will support the success and growth of small-scale food producers. Small-scale food producers are frequently underestimated, yet these producers create jobs, stimulate the economy through supply chain connections, while providing healthy food options for households.

While large-scale food producers can negotiate directly with corporations and influence markets, small-scale food producers, especially “start-ups” in their first three years of operation, are at a high risk of failure. Historically, there are limited opportunities for training and mentoring for small-scale food producers, such that they often fold before they find business support. A non-profit business incubator may be the best suited entity to increase the profitability of small-scale food producers, develop value chains, and enhance local food supplies due to their ability to leverage multiple funding sources, including philanthropic donations.

The initial motivation for the creation of a non-profit business incubator came out of the Local Roots Market & Café strategic plan. A cooperatively owned business serving 200 producers, Local Roots is providing some ad hoc business incubator services, but these services are not their expertise and their capacity is limited. Thus, a feasibility study was completed in July 2020 to assess: What is the current economic impact of Local Roots on small-scale food producers? Is there demand for formalized programs in the future?

The feasibility study found that many local businesses are growing and have hired new employees because of the support they receive from Local Roots. Further, the report determined there is demand for additional, formalized business incubator services and programs in the future. Below, the infographic summarizing the report and the full feasibility study report can be accessed.

From August 2020 – July 2021 a committee has been tasked with the development of this new non-profit business incubator. The committee includes representation from Local Roots Market & Café, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Main Street Wooster, Wayne Economic Development Council, Logee, Hostetler, Stutzman & Lehman LLC, Attorneys at Law and several local business and agricultural partners. The committee has named the new non-profit: FoodSphere: The Entrepreneurial Center at Local Roots. By Spring 2021, the committee expects to have completed strategic planning for FoodSphere and to have obtained 501(c)3 status.

Project

Feasibility study for a non-profit to support food producers

Partners

Local Roots Market & Café, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Main Street Wooster, Wayne Economic Development Council, and several local business partners

Focus

Resilience of local food systems and supply chains; support for entrepreneurialism and job creation

Location

Wayne County, Ohio

Years

2020-ongoing

Project Summary

Sustainable Economies Consulting, LLC. is part of a diverse network of partners involved in the creation of a non-profit business incubator that will support the success and growth of small-scale food producers. Small-scale food producers are frequently underestimated, yet these producers create jobs, stimulate the economy through supply chain connections, while providing healthy food options for households.

While large-scale food producers can negotiate directly with corporations and influence markets, small-scale food producers, especially “start-ups” in their first three years of operation, are at a high risk of failure. Historically, there are limited opportunities for training and mentoring for small-scale food producers, such that they often fold before they find business support. A non-profit business incubator may be the best suited entity to increase the profitability of small-scale food producers, develop value chains, and enhance local food supplies due to their ability to leverage multiple funding sources, including philanthropic donations.

The initial motivation for the creation of a non-profit business incubator came out of the Local Roots Market & Café strategic plan. A cooperatively owned business serving 200 producers, Local Roots is providing some ad hoc business incubator services, but these services are not their expertise and their capacity is limited. Thus, a feasibility study was completed in July 2020 to assess: What is the current economic impact of Local Roots on small-scale food producers? Is there demand for formalized programs in the future?

The feasibility study found that many local businesses are growing and have hired new employees because of the support they receive from Local Roots. Further, the report determined there is demand for additional, formalized business incubator services and programs in the future. Below, the infographic summarizing the report and the full feasibility study report can be accessed.

From August 2020 – July 2021 a committee has been tasked with the development of this new non-profit business incubator. The committee includes representation from Local Roots Market & Café, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Main Street Wooster, Wayne Economic Development Council, Logee, Hostetler, Stutzman & Lehman LLC, Attorneys at Law and several local business and agricultural partners. The committee has named the new non-profit: FoodSphere: The Entrepreneurial Center at Local Roots. By Spring 2021, the committee expects to have completed strategic planning for FoodSphere and to have obtained 501(c)3 status.

Project

Feasibility study for a non-profit to support food producers

Partners

Local Roots Market & Café, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Main Street Wooster, Wayne Economic Development Council, and several local business partners

Focus

Resilience of local food systems and supply chains; support for entrepreneurialism and job creation

Location

Wayne County, Ohio

Years

2020-ongoing

Sunset Environmental Economist

Photo courtesy Damon Noe    

contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 243-249-0298
Email: eschuster@sustainableeconomiesconsulting.com

connect

contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 243-249-0298
Email: eschuster@sustainableeconomiesconsulting.com

connect

contact us

Elizabeth Schuster, Economist

Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 243-249-0298
Email: eschuster@sustainableeconomiesconsulting.com

connect

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