Friday, December 31, 2010

Entrepreneurship as personal economic growth. Happy New Year 2011!

Economic development continued to be an uphill climb last year.

However, as tough as things were, it was a good year to work on business startups and especially the opportunity to work in artisan food processing.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen has been able to help new entrepreneurs develop and existing ones to grow smartly and sustainably. It’s a brand new experiment that could yield some valuable new business models.

The Innovation Kitchen was successfully launched in July of 2010 and is poised to make a great contribution to the discussion of regional food systems. If the cards fall right, we’ll help open our next level of food processing capacity in 2011, the individual quick frozen (IQF) vegetable processing facility in Highland, WI.

I think there is a significant opportunity to build great jobs and vibrant economic development from regional food opportunities. Not someday. Now. But we have to run the experiments and get sustainable business models wrapped around them.

A big part of our effort will be the need for many thoughtful new entrepreneurs.

These posts have tried to encourage people interested in entrepreneurship to gather some knowledge and take some action steps toward getting involved

Many of us coming out of the great recession are looking for better economic security and independence. We are also thinking about personal growth.

For many people, that search will lead through entrepreneurship. The essence of entrepreneurship is personal economic growth. That includes personal growth and business growth.

You get to judge and change how you define growth. There are no right answers except the answers that are truly your own.

It’s a great time to consider a startup or new ways to grow your enterprise.

Have I mentioned the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen? ….

So, on to 2011 my entrepreneur friends!

Stay tuned. I'll keep you posted here.

Happy New Year 2011!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County (WI) Area Economic Development

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Congratulations Xolve!

This is an update about the way-cool Wisconsin startup Xolve.

My friend John and the great team at Xolve just landed $2 million in funding. What's very exciting is that the new funding round included Wisconsin companies and investment groups where the new Xolve nanotechnology-wrangling tools may be deployed.

Congratulations John, Eric, Professor Hamilton and inventor Phil Streich. Our hats are off to your great Wisconsin startup!

Article about Xolve's $2M funding round, WI State Journal at Dec. 23, 2010.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The new year and your new career as a startup

The passing into a new year feels to me like someone opening a curtain. It's a little too bright, and the details out there are fuzzy and indistinct in the glow. But hope and chance are out there, and it feels like a good bet to reach out and grab some of it.

I believe doing your own startups can be a smart alternative to doing nothing. I think it’s wise to be working on ways to increase your personal and financial independence. Building your own small business enterprise can be a good way to do this.

In almost all cases it will take longer than you think. It will likely deliver less clear profit than you want. You will work harder than you supposed. And as you do it, you get faster, smarter, profitable, and more independent. The real message is to get started.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen offers people interested in food entrepreneurship a complete package for testing out their own small food enterprise. This is a model we hope to develop and reproduce in the coming year.

There are growing markets for regional and specialty foods, but without a growing, robust field of food entrepreneurs and artisan food startups, the market will never reach its potential.

The world of local foods needs startups. It needs innovators and creative business models.

The business and economic development opportunities available through local and regional foods are significant. New innovative, specialty food startups are integral to that discussion.

Helping them become sustainable is a worthy goal for all of us in 2011.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen provides a valuable platform for testing food innovations and the wonderful entrepreneurs who create them. I look forward to sharing this story.

Happy New Year!

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Photo from a visit to the Eliza Furnace, in Vitondale, Pennsylvania. Download a history of Eliza Furnace prepared by the Indiana County PA Parks Department. A business startup story worth knowing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Food entrepreneurship presentation at 2011 Wisconsin Local Foods Summit

Want to start next year off learning about becoming a food entrepreneur?

I've been offered several good opportunities in January to talk about food entrepreneurship and the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

The first of these is the Wisconsin Local Foods Summit in Elkhart Lake. The conference is January 13 and 14, 2011.

My presentation is on Thursday Jan. 13 at 10:15 AM. An experiment in local foods processing: The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, Mineral Point, WI.

Another good chance to share this idea will come on with the Midwest Value Added Conference, January 27 and 28, 2011 in Madison. Details to follow.

C'mon you aspiring food entrepreneurs. This is a chance for growers and their food friends to take some positive steps in the new year to build or grow an artisan food enterprise that matches your goals.

Merry Christmas 2010 to one and all!

Download 2011 Wisconsin Local Food Summit brochure. PDF format

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grants for farm entrepreneurs starting food businesses through the Innovation Kitchen

Good news from our Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) this week.

We were able to enroll the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen onto a list of approved consultants who are eligible to be paid for training and supporting Wisconsin farm entrepreneurs.

Eligible Applicants:

"Wisconsin food producers who are selling to the local food market sector are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to applicants selling at least 75 percent of their products to be consumed within 300 miles of the farm. Value-added products must include at least 50 percent Wisconsin-grown ingredients, of which at least 50 percent must be grown by the applicant."

Consulting services available from the Innovation Kitchen through this grant:
• Commercial recipe development, testing, and production services. Packaging and labeling services.
• Small food business counseling, startup and development services

If you grow food in Wisconsin you are eligible for an amazing opportunity to experiment in value added processing. You can create small, inexpensive batches of artisan recipes to sell under your own brand and label through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

This grant program, Producers First, is open to applications through the end of 2010. I'm not sure about the future of this specific program but hopefully this and others like it can continue to help our Wisconsin food entrepreneurs create jobs, grow businesses, and build a more sustainable farm and food economy.

The Producers First grant is a nice opportunity to get your new or emerging farm and food enterprise acquainted with the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and vice versa.

The grant will pay up to $3,000 per successful applicant, which largely covers recipe development and testing, as well as mentoring in artisan food business planning and execution.

The Hodan Center is sharing this amazing resource with Wisconsin and the world.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is a platform of knowledge, networks and valuable tools. What seems possible with this kind of platform is that these new and emerging food enterprises will become platforms themselves for creating jobs and economies that will be valuable and sustainable.

Julie Miller's article in Agri-View last week caught a quote about leveraging the physical platform this kitchen represents into many new business and community platforms for new and emerging food entrepreneurs:

“I want to start these new smaller businesses as sustainable work platforms,” says Terrien, referring to food entrepreneurs that begin at the Innovation Kitchen. “They feed families, communities, and a larger purpose. It’s these production platforms that are needed and no more so than in food.

Download information for applicants. PDF format.

Agri-View article: Innovation Kitchen stirs economy with local produce & ready workers

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

The Hodan Center

Iowa County WI economic development

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Innovation Kitchen stirs economy with local produce & ready workers"

One of our premier regional publications celebrating agriculture and rural life is Agri-View, "The Number one Ag Newspaper in Wisconsin"

Julie Martin with Agri-View did a great interview and story in their current issue, dated Dec. 9, 2010. What a great opening to the story...

"At the Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point, their cookbook is filled with signature recipes of family-crafted specialties.

Among them is their own recipe for success, calling for a heaping tablespoon of leadership, a few cups of community support, and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit.

And don’t forget the key ingredient: a few truck loads of Wisconsin grown produce."

This is a well written story that accurately highlights many of the opportunities available through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

I thought the article did a great job summarizing what's possible: "The Innovation Kitchen helps bridge the gap between locally-produced foods and the grocery store shelf, while also creating Wisconsin jobs. A hub for new entrepreneurs to grow their ideas, this commercial kitchen has a promising outlook."

I especially love the closing quote from Annette Pierce, our Food Service Director (and Master of the Universe):

“They keep telling me that we need to expand already,” says Pierce, with a smile to the center’s success. “We want to be sustainable and to keep our local farmers in business. We’re accomplishing that, and I think this is going to help everybody.”


Agri-View article: "Innovation Kitchen stirs economy with local produce & ready workers"

Photo credit: Julie Martin and Agri-View.

Writing your own patents / holiday greetings

People ask if they can write their own patents. The answer is that you can but you really have to put a lot of time and thought into the process. You will also most likely not be anywhere as thorough as a patent attorney would be.

The photo is of our a suction skimmer removing oil from a manufacturing fluid. This elegant, simple, powerful skimmer was our first patent.

We made the holiday post card from the photo to send as a 'thank you' greeting for our very earliest customers.

The first patent my previous business partner Dave and I received was filed on Jan. 6, 1999. The 12th anniversary of our first intellectual property application is less than a month away. Our most recent patent was awarded in 2008.

I wrote the text and did the drawings for our first patent. Then our wonderful patent attorney Dr. Jaen Andrews thankfully took charge.

I've written for all kinds of applications in my life but I can say without any hesitation that the abstract for our first patent (below) was the single most difficult paragraph I've ever worked on.

The rest of the writing - the claims and the description and the drawing labels had to be just as precise. There is a link to the full text at the end.

There is excellent advice out there for writing patent applications yourself. I believe the best advice comes through Nolo Press. However, people have to understand this intellectual property language is a complex code unto itself. Many terms have been frozen in their meanings for more than a century. There is important, legally relevant meaning to every single word and phrase. Accurate use of punctuation and drawing details are equally important with highly defined legal implications. The abstract language below sounds stilted. However, the legal requirements for defining your innovation as a new creation must work with centuries of law and language. It takes a lot of time to digest these rules and then write to those standards.

Civilians can do it, but thank goodness for patent attorneys!

Here is the abstract I wrote for our first patent:

Abstract. U.S. patent # 6,183,654. Filed Jan 6, 1999. Issued Feb. 6, 2001.

"A suction skimmer with a vertically adjustable inlet for removing preferred upper portions of a liquid from a fluid body under substantially laminar flow conditions and which is self leveling in response to level changes in a fluid body. Suction skimming device includes a skimming sleeve elongated body member having a fluid flow passageway disposed proximally contiguous and slidably movable along the vertical axis of an elongated body sleeve guide member having a fluid flow passageway. The fluid flow passageway of the skimming sleeve member is in open communication with the fluid flow passageway of the sleeve guide member. The suction skimmer is provided with a flotation assembly to buoyantly support the skimming sleeve member thereby positioning the inlet first end of the skimming sleeve member near the surface of a fluid body. The flotation assembly is removably engaged to the skimming sleeve member so that the distance between the skimming sleeve inlet and the surface of a fluid body can be preferentially adjusted and engaged over a large array of vertical distances."

Based on this abstract our claims were accepted on their first application. There were about 45 individual component items identified across 3 separate drawings (figures) submitted.

You can write this language and do the drawings yourself if you commit a lot of time to the process. It's a big learning curve. It takes a lot of time.

So, yes, you can write and draw your own patents.

Do you really want to? Do you have months of work-hours to devote to learning and executing in this environment?

Is it valuable to utilize the professional skills of patent attorneys? Absolutely!

Is it fun to use your business graphics and make holiday cards? Oh my gosh, priceless.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Happy 12 year anniversary of our first patent filing Dave!

Kudos to the great books from Nolo Press that guided the writing and the patent drawings that supported our first patent.

First photo is of our suction skimmer in action.

Second is a scan of a holiday card we sent to our customers and friends in the first years - our suction skimmer with the flotation system disguised as Christmas ornaments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Next phone conference 12/15 - starting an artisan food enterprise through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

We'll be having a phone seminar next week for people interested in starting or growing an artisan food business through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. We limit these invitations to keep the conversation effective. There are 5 slots open for next Wednesday Dec. 15 at 2:30 PM CST.

Here are a couple of comments from the first seminar:

"Thank you for the very informative conference call yesterday. I came away from the call with the inspiration I needed to go to the next level. "

"It was really informative taking part in the phone seminar."

If you know someone who might be interested in having the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen be the 'food processing back office', please pass this note along.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is an opportunity to start or grow an artisan food enterprise in a state-inspected commercial kitchen, licensed to legally and lovingly prepare recipes for commercial sale. The Innovation Kitchen can also supply packaging, labeling and shipping support, all of this at a small enough scale that's affordable for most new and emerging food entrepreneurs.

You can live anywhere in the United States and start an artisan food business through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

For people thinking about this opportunity we have a couple of pricing paths into the process. One path will focus on commercial recipe testing and development. The other path will provide mentorship in business startup and development with a focus on artisan food enterprises, as well as the commercial recipe development services.

Our next phone seminar to discuss this food entrepreneurship opportunity is next Wednesday Dec. 15 at 2:30 PM CST. We have 5 slots open for this seminar.

We also have phone seminars scheduled for Wed. Jan 5, and Wed. Jan. 19

Join us or pass this note along to a friend who may want to become a food entrepreneur ! You can register using the link below.

Request an invitation to an upcoming phone seminar for people interested in having the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen prepare their recipes for commercial sale.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County (WI) Area Economic Development Corporation.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Boomer startups and encore careers

Long time Madison and Wisconsin contributor Nino Amato is currently the President and Executive Director of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.

There was a very good interview with Mr. Amato in the November 2010 Madison Magazine.

The discussion of an aging workforce can be looked at from many ways. Certainly there is a financial risk to individuals and to the system.

However, starting new careers and new businesses may be one way older Americans can meet this challenge.

As Mr. Amato closes out his interview, he cites a movement I'm seeing in many areas of my economic development work, especially in the field of artisan food entrepreneurship through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

“'Baby boomers don’t think they’ll be ‘old’ until they’re eighty,' Amato says. Citing survey research conducted by Merrill Lynch, Amato says 76 percent of baby boomers intend to continue earning income full- or part-time after they retire from their main line of work. Many plan to begin new professional careers or start their own businesses."

For anyone thinking about starting their own small food enterprise to help carry them into and through their older years, the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen may be a great option right in our own back yard.

Sounds like a plan...

Interview with Nino Amato in Madison Magazine.

Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups. Focusing on issues that impact older adults and people with disabilities.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Mineral Point, Iowa County, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Newman's Own. Shameless!

My good friend Robin K. lent me her copy of Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner's great book "Shameless Exploitation: In Pursuit of the Common Good."

In 2008, the year of Paul Newman's passing, this was republished as "In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time."

My goodness. What a contribution these explorers provided to all of us interested in food, philanthropy, and economic development.

Some good summaries of food entrepreneurship from the beginning and end of Newman and Hotchner's adventure...

"Sometimes you get what you want but it ain't what you expected. Newman's Own was supposed to be a tiny boutique operation - parchment labels on elegant wine bottles of antique glass. We expected train wrecks along the way and got, instead, one astonishment followed by another. We flourished like weeds in the garden of Wishbone, like silver in the vaults of finance. A lot of time we thought we were in first gear we were really in reverse, but it didn't seem to make any difference. We anticipated sales of $1,200 a year, and a loss, despite our gambling winnings, of $6,000. But in these twenty years we have earned over $150 million, which we've given to countless charities. How to account for this massive success? Pure luck? Transcendental meditation? Machiavellian manipulation? Aerodynamics? High calonics? We haven't the slightest idea."

"That bottle of salad dressing that we concocted as a prank in Newman's old stable twenty-odd years ago has had a hell of a ride. Without realizing it, by being both stupid and stubborn we stuck to our guns, insisted on all-natural, no preservatives products, and in some small way caused an industry to change its ways. A business we ran by the seat of our pants, without plans or budgets, is now a significant player in the world's markets. A camp we built in Connecticut for sick children has now been duplicated for afflicted kids all over the world. A vision realized. Like a grain of sand in the oyster, it just grew, and for us, these camps are indeed the pearls.

So, whatever it is, whatever it amounts to, whatever it does or doesn't do, we grabbed it by the shirttailand hung on. Sure makes a believer out of you."

So here is my own shameless pitch... the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is a state of the art food processing center that can supply all the needs of a ‘virtual’ food entrepreneur - purchasing, ingredient prepping, recipe testing and preparation, packaging, labeling, storage, and shipping. You can utilize the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen to be your safe, legal, wonderful food preparation center, operated for whatever worthy purpose you designate, from wherever you live.

The Innovation Kitchen also supports the employment goals of adults with disabilities. With your help and patronage, we can do this all over the world.

For people who would like to experiment in food entrepreneurship and philanthropy the Innovation Kitchen is a perfect storm of good news.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Amazon link to these great books

Wikipedia Newman's Own. "According to the Newman's Own website, by March 2010 over US$290 million had been generated for charity since 1982"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chrysler Kokomo. Largest investment in one U.S. city for 2010

This is a short re-visit to our recent manufacturing startup. I really miss showing off our technology and working in that marketplace.

My business partner Dave and I manufactured and installed industrial fluid recycling systems in heavy industrial plants worldwide, beginning in 1997.

One of my favorite customers was Chrysler Kokomo. That's our equipment and our results highlighted in the photos.

Surprisingly there was little economic development press about a new $843 million investment recently announced by Chrysler to upgrade their metal casting and transmission manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana. This brings this year's investment in Chrysler Kokomo up to $1.1 billion.

I know this plant well. I spent a LOT of time inside Chrysler Kokomo with our last venture.

Long before green manufacturing became cool, the technology Dave and I patented, built, and installed in Kokomo saved this one facility millions of dollars in reclaimed fluids and big decreases in resource consumption (largely oil , water, and surfactants). It was my understanding at that time that Chrysler Kokomo ran the largest heat treating operations under one roof in the world. Our equipment recycled oil and industrial fluids in most of the heat treating parts washers in this amazing facility.

After we installed our technology, we won a global environmental award from Chrysler, presented by Dr. Deiter Zetsche, current Chairman of Daimler AG in the photos above.

This award led to others and a lot more customers throughout that industry.

The new investment in Chrysler Kokomo is great news for this facility and for American manufacturing. With some additional funding by the City of Kokomo, this will be the largest investment in a single city in the U.S. this year.

I am very proud of the small part my business partner Dave and I played in helping this wonderful American manufacturing facility emerge smarter into our new century.

Congratulations, Kokomo! Congratulations, American manufacturing! Forward!

Inside Indiana Business. Interview with local UAW president about initial $343 million investment and Chrysler press release about full $1.1 billion investment in Chrysler Kokomo this year.

Washington Post article about President Obama visit to Chrysler Kokomo. 11/24/10

Environmental technology award presented by Dr. Deiter Zetsche

Photo notes: Dr. Deiter Zetsche in photos with Heat Treating Manager Bob McCulley. Wikipedia Dr. Deiter Zetsche

Friday, November 26, 2010

Presentations about job creation and local foods - Mon. Nov. 29

We are hosting presentations organized by Wisconsin Senator Dale Schultz highlighting the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and the Highland vegetable processing center. November 29, 2010. Both projects are supported by our Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation and SW CAP.

(emphasis added by me)

From Senator Dale Schultz:

Greetings -

You are invited to take part in stops being hosted by leaders for job
and Wisconsin's bioenergy future on the afternoon of Monday,
November 29. This invite is to you and other community leaders in the
region of Grant, Green, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk, Juneau, Crawford and
Iowa Counties. Please consider forwarding this invitation to your
community contacts. Stop #1 is at a new regional food-jobs generator in
Mineral Point, plus we'll get an update on the next regional food-jobs
generator in Highland
and an update on other regional E.D. initiatives
from SWCAP. Stop #2 is at an exciting bio-energy generator in
Dodgeville. Take part in one or both stops. There is no cost involved
at either stop.

FIRST STOP, 1:30 to 2:40
Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen
851 Dodge St. (old Hwy 151), Mineral Point WI 53565
Web:, phone 608 987 3558
Host #1: Rick Terrien, director of the Iowa County Area E.D. Corp,
You'll get a tour and hear how WINK is helping food-related
entrepreneurs from a large region.
Come if you want to keep or create local food jobs in your community.

Host #2: Wally Orzechowski and David Vobora of Southwest Wisconsin
Community Action Program
They will be at WINK to describe their programs to help you keep and
create jobs in your community.
SWCAP ( is the region's leader for community and
economic development.
Come if you want to keep or create frozen-food-related jobs in your
community or you want to help people escape poverty and become
financially self-sustaining.

SECOND STOP, 3:00 to 4:15
Energy Unlimited, Inc.
4881 CR YZ, Dodgeville WI 53535
Host: John Lundell, President.
The Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence is one of many entities
excited about the Biomass Burner. Lundell plans to have the system
operating for your visit. See how various biomass inputs can generate
electricity at less cost than a digester, and heat a large facility.
Come if you want your community to be a leader for our bio-energy

RSVPs are not essential, but if you do, we can offer you car pooling
possibilities with other folks coming from your area.
To rsvp, email Tom Jackson,

- Tom Jackson, Office of Senator Dale Schultz,
- Rick Terrien, ICEDC,
- Wally Orzechowski, SWCAP,
- David Vobora, SWCAP,
- John Lundell, Energy Unlimited,

WI Senator Dale Schultz
Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, WInK
Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, SW CAP
Dodgeville's Energy Unlimited Sawdust Burner site

Photo notes. - see the wing chunks missing bottom left wing - Monarch predation. A small biz strategy worth considering...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting to 10,000 new businesses in Wisconsin

This is from a recent article by Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still. Nov. 3, 2010 "Inside WI: The mathematics of job creation in Wisconsin calls for quantity and quality."

In discussing the need for growth in high quality jobs, the article closes with a strong argument for entrepreneurship making an important contribution. (emphasis added by me)

"So, where will new jobs be produced? Sectors such as care for the aging, education, food processing and safety, information technology sectors, transportation, trade, bioproducts and alternative fuels hold potential.

'Raw numbers of jobs is not our problem. We need high-quality jobs,' said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and author of new report titled 'Wisconsin Jobs and Wages: A Wake-Up Call?'

Berry believes the number that will drive 250,000 new jobs is 10,000 new businesses, given that small businesses create virtually all jobs in the U.S. economy. As the Kauffman Foundation reported recently, 'start-ups and young companies dominate job creation in the United States – and have done so for the past 30 years.'

Launching start-ups is precisely where Wisconsin has lagged since the early 1990s. In the 17 years ending in 2009, new companies as a percentage of all firms averaged 5.4 percent nationally, while in Wisconsin the 'firm creation rate' was 4.5 percent. Wisconsin ranked 42nd among the 50 states and scored behind most of its neighbors.

Berry noted that attracting and retaining larger firms gets most of the political attention, and a disproportionate amount of state financial support, even though creating new businesses from within is the real game.

'If young firms are creating all of the new jobs, as the data show, then we’re having the wrong conversation,' Berry said.

'Changing that conversation means creating a culture of entrepreneurism and removing obstacles that prevent young firms from getting a running start. Those obstacles can include local ordinances, state regulations and licensing requirements. Unemployment payroll taxes hurt young firms because it’s a tax not tied to profitability. The relative lack of venture capital also contributes to less-than-average firm creation.'

'In the end, we’ve got to decide what kind of culture we want,' Berry said. 'We should have a culture that rewards risk – a culture that allows entrepreneurs to keep money in their pockets and to keep pounding away in their garages.'

While that cultural shift is underway in Wisconsin, much work remains. Creating 250,000 jobs is laudable and attainable – and launching 10,000 new companies with the potential to create high-wage jobs is even better."

Inside WI: The mathematics of job creation in Wisconsin calls for quantity and quality.

A safe and peaceful Thanksgiving to all! Abramam Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving, 1863.

Photo is looking through the amazing plant kaleidoscope ("observer of beautiful forms.") at our wonderful Olbrich Gardens in Madison, WI

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Encore careers: Boomer entrepreneurs and the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Did you know Americans aged 55 to 64 start small businesses at a higher rate than any other age group?

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is an ideal platform for launching an 'encore career'. You can live anywhere you want and start a safe, legal food business without betting your savings. It can even be a lot of fun!

This is the Renaissance age of entrepreneurship, and it's just beginning. If you are a boomer thinking about starting your own artisan food business, you need to contact the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

SBA site for 50+ entrepreneurs

"Encore careers combine purpose, passion and a paycheck"

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Photo is of a fall crocus, a late bloomer and great contributor to the landscape, just like boomer entrepreneurs.

Xolve / CleanTech Open follow up

Xolve did not end up on the podium at this year's CleanTech Open but making the finals was a huge accomplishment for John and all the good folks at Xolve.

Perhaps even better news than winning this competition, Xolve was just certified by the Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce as a 'Qualified New Business Venture'.

"The company's certification by Commerce makes investors in Xolve, Inc. eligible for a 25-percent tax credit on the amount they invest in the company."

Congratulation to John and everyone at Xolve on a great effort and for your good work as Wisconsin business rock stars!

Xolve, Inc. certified as Qualified New Business Venture. WI Dept. of Commerce press release 11/17/10.

Photo is of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Wyoming Valley School, in the Town of Wyoming, in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Milwaukee Public Radio interview

Milwaukee Public Radio, WUWM, is home to one of my favorite radio programs, Lake Effect. I had a chance recently to talk with their producer Mitch Teich about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. The link to their audio archive of this conversation is below.

From the show's intro: "More that 350,000 jobs in Wisconsin - about 10% of the state's workforce - depends in some way on agriculture.

But for people who aspire to starting their own food related business the challenges can be daunting. Issues such as developing a business plan, obtaining the raw materials, and acquiring the proper licenses to process and sell food products can deter or derail a would-be entrepreneur... One pioneering facility is the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen."

Milwaukee Public Radio interview, Nov. 18, 2010

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

The Artisan Food Career program

Iowa County Area Economic Development

The Pecatonica Grapevine's 1 year Anniversary!

Congratulations to Christine and everyone involved in The Pecatonica Grapevine in Blanchardville, WI. Today is their 1 year anniversary. Congratulations!

This is from their Facebook page...

The Pecatonica Grapevine The one year anniversary is THIS FRIDAY Nov. 19th.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. THE PARTY IS THIS FRIDAY STARTING 4:30. Dinner Buffet with Baked Fish, Garlic Roasted Chicken, Salad, Green Beans, Wine Tasting, Pie and Coffee $10. Hope to see you here!!!

The Pecatonica Grapevine on Facebook

Photos are from The Pecatonica Grapevine in Blanchardville. Christine makes the best coffee syrups. I believe she will have bottles of her newest chocolate syrup for sale at the 1 year anniversary party tonight. Yum!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Keep or create local food jobs in your community"

This is from a news release from our Wisconsin state Senator Dale Schultz (emphasis mine) -

At the request of Senator Schultz, leaders for jobs and energy are hosting a visit for you and other community leaders from the region of Grant, Green, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk, Crawford and Iowa Counties on the afternoon of Monday, November 29.

Stop #1 is at a new regional food-jobs generator in Mineral Point, plus we’ll get an update on the next regional food-jobs generator in Highland.


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

851 Dodge St. (old Hwy 151), Mineral Point WI 53565

Web:, phone 608 987 3558

Host: Rick Terrien, director of the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp. (

You’ll get a tour and hear how WINK is helping food-related entrepreneurs from a large region.

RSVPs are not essential, but if you do, we can offer you car pooling possibilities with other folks coming from your area.

"Come if you want to keep or create local food jobs in your community."

We are encouraged our work can be described as a being a 'leader for jobs'. Please join us Nov. 29.

TO RSVP, email Tom Jackson -

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Photo is of my 2010 Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen (WInK) pumpkin. Some of my other pumpkin carving through the years

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Early Stage Symposium follow up

The Wisconsin Technology Council's Early Stage Symposium was a big success. This is our area's premier event for investors and growth businesses.

There were a record number of attendees and many great seminars. This was the first time to my knowledge that this organization has included food in its program of topics. I believe the addition of the food track helped boost attendance numbers. All of the food seminars were packed.

My friend, and fellow participant our Iowa County economic development work, John Biondi made the best presentation about one of the coolest companies I've ever seen, Xolve. John is CEO of Xolve. Xolve is in the national CleanTech finals this week in San Francisco. This is a major accomplishment. Please check out their link below. Best wishes to everyone at Xolve from all of us in your community, your state, and your region!

Governor-elect Scott Walker gave one of the keynotes, and I was energized by his goal of starting 10,000 new businesses during his first term. We're building a model to crank out new enterprises and grow our existing Wisconsin food businesses. I'm watching it work: The team behind the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen has helped individuals start new businesses, helped existing Wisconsin businesses to grow and has processed well over 25,000 pounds of local foods from our wonderful Wisconsin family farms.

This all happened in their first 3 months of kitchen operations.

When the Highland food processing center comes on line our region will be able to kick it up another notch. There are many new businesses that can be created in both rural and urban communities using these models.

I sincerely believe these kinds of value added food platforms can help our state get to Governor-elect Walker's goal of 10,000 new businesses in 4 years.

Good luck this week John and everyone at Xolve at the CleanTech Open finals this coming week. Break a nano particle!

The CleanTech Open Awards ceremony. Wed. Nov. 17. Congratulations to everyone at Xolve for this amazing achievement!

Wisconsin Technology Council's overview of the symposium and Governor-elect Walker's opportunities. Great to hear the food cluster discussed so prominently. The Bill Joos interview at the end is great.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, which is owned and operated by the Hodan Center, in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin.

I was fortunate to share a panel with my friend Michael Gay from the City of Madison's economic development team, who also farms in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin. This is a great online interview Michael shared with In Business Magazine's Coffee with Michael Gay.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Specialty food is a $63 billion per year opportunity

There is a great article about the opportunity available in specialty foods in Inc. Magazine. "How to Bring a Food Product to Market", by Gina Pace, dated Oct 28, 2010

"According to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, in 2010 specialty food will account for $50.3 billion in sales through stores, and another $12.7 billion through restaurants - accounting 13.1 percent of all food sales."

I think the artisan food career program we've created at the Innovation Kitchen is an amazing way for people to experiment in food entrepreneurship. You have a recipe. We make it for you, package it, label it, store it and ship it. You get to start an artisan food enterprise in a growing $63 billion per year space. The size of the market this study identifies is significant. This is a great time to experiment, to launch an encore career, to launch a great new food innovation, to make some jobs.

As a plug for Iowa County, Mineral Point and the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, if you utilize the Innovation Kitchen as your co-packer (we make it / package it for you), visiting Mineral Point becomes a business trip. See a great article about Mineral Point in the Chicago Tribune below.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is proving to be a valuable experiment in expanding the opportunities in local foods and regional food systems.

Having the Specialty Foods trade association measure the business at $63 billion per year is a real eye opener.

How to Bring a Food Product to Market. Inc. Magazine. October 28, 2010. Written by Gina Pace.

Chicago Tribune article about Mineral Point. By William Hageman. November 7, 2010.

Photo is of Jeremy Lynch, of Enos Farms. At the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen we refer to Jeremy as our 'Farmer in Residence'. His culinary skills and his food lines are amazing! Our family LOVES Jeremy's Parsnip Black Pepper Crackers. Jeremy farms near Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen in wonderful Wyoming Township, Iowa County, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Wisconsin Technology Council’s Early Stage Symposium is next week. Food entrepreneurship emerges as an investment and growth strategy.

Inc. Magazine just published their November 2010 cover story headlined “The Demand Economy” subtitled, “With consumers and businesses pinching pennies, there’s only one way to survive: target needs not wants”.

The authors focused on four mega-trends where need greatly exceeds supply.

Among these was a piece highlighting the significant business opportunity in local foods.

A recent study says that 59% of consumers nationwide buy local foods whenever possible.

Sure 59% is a big number but I’m more impressed with the phrase “whenever possible”. This indicates two things to me: Within that big 59% number there is much more room for growth, and also that the 59% number itself is being held back by a lack of access to local foods in the market.

Hmmm. Significant, proven demand and not enough supply. If ever there was a poster child for the ‘demand economy’ right now, it’s the supply side of local foods.

The Wisconsin Technology Council’s annual Early Stage Symposium will be held Nov. 10th and 11th at Monona Terrace in Madison. This year they have included a track devoted to food entrepreneurship.

The session I’ve been invited to make a presentation to is under the heading, "Getting more cooks in the kitchen: How incubators and business parks can help entrepreneurs".

There are significant opportunities to replicate the work many of us are doing in Wisconsin, especially the model represented by our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. There are many great lessons emerging from our Innovation Kitchen experiments that speak directly to serving the ‘demand economy’ of local foods. I am convinced food entrepreneurship will be a growth area in the economy for the next decade and beyond.

For people interested in starting or growing food enterprises you are being supported by a huge 'demand economy' that is hungry for your innovations.

If you can be around Madison this week, the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Early Stage Symposium should be very interesting!

Wisconsin Technology Council's Early Stage Symposium

WI Technology Council

Inc. Magazine cover story "The Demand Economy"
November 2010.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County (WI) Area EDC

Opportunities in food entrepreneurship

I thought we had a very good workshop at the Innovation Kitchen last week. We welcomed our regional Southwestern Wisconsin Small Business Development Center’s to our workshop on food entrepreneurship.

Wonderful questions. My measure of a good meeting is when the people who came for one thing end up interacting with one another across all sorts of new ideas after the main session is over. We had plenty of that! The entire evening was a great discussion I thought. Thanks!

The general topic was food safety certifications and business planning for food entrepreneurs. The specific topic was utilizing the Innovation Kitchen to execute those plans. I believe the SW WI SBDC will sponsor this seminar again next March.

People get PhDs in small but critical areas of food processing. My 90 minute seminar is certainly not intended to be anything other than a brief introduction to the topic and important homework you’ll need, but I thought it was a good start.

Workshop topics included:

- State and health regulations/ certifications, how to source
ingredients and other resources

- Scaling recipes

- Introduction to commercial food business and marketing

- Requirements and opportunities for utilizing the Innovation Kitchen

This workshop was presented by:
Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp.
The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

This workshop was presented in partnership with:

Blackhawk Technical College
Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Agency
Southwest Wisconsin Small Business Development Center
Southwest Tech
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

The following are taken from the feedback form Gary from the SBDC sent back I’m including these because I had the same feelings for the folks attending. This idea of food entrepreneurship is an amazing story to share and I really enjoy doing it.

Feedback collected by the SBDC for our Workshop ‘Food Processing Business Workshop’:

• Rick was very thorough about starting a food business
• Excellent Presentation – personal examples are best!
• Presenter’s enthusiasm
• Clearly understood presentation of the issues
• Very Informational meeting on everything, the “ins & outs” of business start-up
• The range of topics (covered)
• Good presentation, very helpful
• Great over view of process & regulations (state & Feds) and of facility… I was inspired by Rick’s presentation"

This was a really fun presentation to be a part of. It was the first detailed business analysis I’ve been able to write based on the Innovation Kitchen’s first full quarter of food preparation operations. What an opportunity this is.

Thanks to everyone who attended last evening!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Chef Joel's Holiday classes at the Innovation Kitchen

Chef Joel Olson has a wonderful Holiday offering for our culinary senses!

Here are Chef Joel's upcoming Holiday season classes:

Essential Knife Skills Workshop - Saturday, November 13 - 9:30am - 12:00pm

Holiday Hors D'Oeuvres - Saturday, November 13 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Holiday Baking - Saturday, December 4 - 9:30am - 12:00pm

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from your Kitchen - Saturday, December 4 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

More info:

On Saturday, November 13th, Chef Joel will offer the following two new hands-on/participation classes:


Take this very popular and informative class to learn and practice the techniques that help take the chore out of cooking. You can use the techniques learned in this course every time you cook for the rest of your life! Techniques include: dicing onions, carrots and other vegetables; pasting garlic; boning a chicken; plus cutting assorted fruits. Knife selection, sharpening and care will also be covered. Bring your own knives or use ours. A light lunch will be served.
Cost: $54


Surprise and delight your guests this holiday season with these delicious hors d’oeuvres. Help to prepare then taste:
Cool Herbed Chicken Meatballs with Fresh Tomato;
Garlic and Yogurt Sauce and Fresh Buttery Breadsticks;
Open Faced Crispy Wontons with Pork Tenderloin and Apple Slaw;
Pumpernickle Bratwurst Canapes with Cranberry Mayonnaise;
Mediterranean Bean Pate with Homemade Crisp Lemon Flatbread;
Oven Baked Shrimp Toast;
Cheese and Mushroom Strudel.
(Note: Vegetarian alternatives to meat appetizers will also be discussed.)
Cost: $64

Please contact the Innovation Kitchen at 608 987-3558 to register.

Please note that the December classes will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010.

Additional information on Chef Joel and the Everyday Cooking:

Everyday Cooking is a really great, intense, full-day course.
It has been described as a "culinary boot camp."

Chef Joel has being teaching this class for many years at L'Academie
de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD, and always gets rave reviews.
People really love it!

It is the course that will help you to be able to open your
refrigerator at any point and be able to make a great meal
from what's there.

(One of the things you'll learn is what kinds of things
to keep on hand in that fridge, so you open it up and see
more than just condiments and a stray beer!)

Our take-away idea for people when thinking about Iowa County, Wisconsin is 'Come grow with us'. Thanks to Chef Joel for his many contributions to this ethic!

Innovation Kitchen events page and sign up information for Chef Joel's classes.

Innovation Kitchen home page

Iowa County (WI) area economic development

Sunday, October 31, 2010

'Kitchen incubators' make the New York Times food issue

Before it gets too far along, try to find a hard copy of the Food Issue of the NY Times, 10/10/10. The title of the magazine section was 'Eating Together. How the food revolution – from farm to table – is really a story about seeding and savoring communities.'

Most people assume they know enough about ‘incubator kitchens’. They are typically seen as facilities that low-income people can use to create food businesses without having to invest funds they don’t have.

But the story of shared use kitchens is certainly not stopping there.

I’ve just watched our Innovation Kitchen seed and grow valuable, loving and profitable communities before my eyes. I watched this beautiful facility create a ‘bloom’ of great jobs for people who have significant employment needs that deserve our support.

Within this NY Times food issue was an article by Rob Walker titled, “Shared Tastes. The ‘kitchen incubator’ and how it really works.” The piece is about the most common ways people are deploying these incubator kitchen facilities to give low-income entrepreneurs access to commercial kitchens and technical support so they can grow new businesses. This is truly great, world-changing work. It’s wonderful to have a bright light shined on this work.

But there are other models emerging, like our Innovation Kitchen. I think our ‘artisan food career’ experiment at the Innovation Kitchen is another new way to think about the subject of utilizing shared use kitchens for creating jobs and economic development.

What if we invite food entrepreneurs of ALL income ranges to participate in food entrepreneurship? Why limit it to entrepreneurship programs for low-income people? The Innovation Kitchen is working on a model that creates a platform for all food entrepreneurs to live anywhere they want and have their recipes prepared by an excellent, fully certified food processing staff in a world class, state-inspected commercial kitchen. This is our ‘artisan food career’ program for aspiring food entrepreneurs nationwide.

At the same time, our Innovation Kitchen model also creates important and much-needed jobs that support adults with disabilities. It is indeed ‘seeding and savoring communities’ as the NY Times says, and represents a valuable addition to this discussion of how to deploy shared use kitchens.

At the Innovation Kitchen, my friends with disabilities are helping package and label and ship a wide variety of foods processed for local farms, food lovers and food entrepreneurs nationwide.

And it’s not just jobs for my friends with disabilities.

In addition, our Innovation Kitchen is focused on helping existing food businesses in our region grow their own enterprises to the next level. This model nurtures our existing economy, gives our existing food entrepreneurs the opportunity to create jobs in their businesses while making their own businesses more stable and profitable.

We just added up the local produce that was processed through the Innovation Kitchen in the last 3 months and it was over 25,000 pounds. In 3 months! This was accomplished while Annette and her great staff were just starting up the facility, plus catching up with their own loss of 3 months of production during their move to the new facility. The Innovation Kitchen processed over 25,000 pounds of LOCAL produce from LOCAL farms, in 3 months to rave reviews. Plus the work supported trucking jobs, plus jobs in labeling and packaging and marketing.

This experiment is making good jobs across a wide spectrum of the food chain (pun intended).

People from anywhere the country can start their own enterprises utilizing the Innovation Kitchen as their safe, legal, commercial food preparation ‘back office’. People can create new businesses from wherever they live while creating jobs for adults with disabilities in Wisconsin. This is the basis for our 'artisan food career' program.

Ours is a different plank in the ‘incubator kitchen’ platform. My friends at the Innovation Kitchen look forward to sharing the idea and their facility in service of this experiment.

I hope to be as transparent as I can in reporting those results here.

Let’s dig in!

The Innovation Kitchen

Our 'artisan food career' program

New York Times. Shared Tastes. The 'kitchen incubator' and how it really works. By Rob Walker. (great date!) 10/10/10

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Innovation Kitchen Partners at the Dane County Farmer's Market

Several of our Innovation Kitchen Preparation Partners are marketing through the wonderful Dane County Farmer’s Market in Madison, WI.

During the Wisconsin Public Radio interview with Larry Meiller this week I got to highlight several success stories of local farm entrepreneurs having their recipes prepared for them at the Innovation Kitchen.

Don’s Produce, from the Arena, Wisconsin area, is in the beautiful northeast corner of Iowa County. The Innovation Kitchen has made several delicious products for Don and Mary. I got a shot of their wonderful Pure Tomato Juice at the Dane County Fair this weekend. This is a great juice recipe prepared at the Innovation Kitchen.

Another Partner marketing at the Dane County market is Bingham’s Horticultural Products, from the Mineral Point area, in the south central part of Iowa County. Bingham’s has a fabulous Fresh Vegetable Salsa recipe prepared at the Innovation Kitchen.

Our Preparation Partner program for processing recipes for local food and farm entrepreneurs is underway. I’m checking frequently to make sure the expectations on both sides are met. Every day we look for ways to make this valuable opportunity even better.

Through the Innovation Kitchen, jobs are being strengthened and created. More and more people are getting access to local foods year round. Good work is being created and nurtured in our own communities. Food entrepreneurs are investing in local agriculture and local jobs. Our local farms are getting access to valuable new year-round markets.

Nationwide, as more and more lovers of good food and entrepreneurship discover this opportunity, it's easy to see how this valuable experiment can grow.

Thanks to all our Innovation Kitchen Partners!

Our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Dane County Farmer's Market, the largest producer-only farmer's market in the United States.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Link to WPR radio interview with Larry Meiller

A great visit with Wisconsin Public Radio today. Thanks to host Larry Meiller and producer Jim Packard. Link to online audio below.

Got to visit with Christine Lindner, our wonderful ag ambassador Alice in Dairyland at the Madison Food and Wine Show this weekend. Christine was at our Innovation Kitchen Grand Opening and has been cheering us on ever since. Thank you Christine!

Many thanks to Daughter A for the wonderful new layout for the blog. It's a great present. Thanks A!

Show archive for the Larry Meiller show. Search for October 27, 2010 or my last name.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

25,000 pounds of local foods processed at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in 3 months!

I'm fortunate to be a guest of Larry Meiller on his wonderful Wisconsin Public Radio show tomorrow, Oct. 27th from 11:45 AM to 12:30 PM.

We'll be discussing the work of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and the great local foods work that is flourishing in Wisconsin.

Life has been rushing by as new opportunities emerge at the kitchen. Today Annette and I went through the list of foods she and her team have processed since we opened.

They wouldn't be surprised but I was. In 3 months of kitchen operations, they have processed more than 25,000 pounds of local foods. Amazing! These are local foods that in the past had either not been purchased or that came off the back of a truck from thousands of miles away.

This is the list of LOCAL produce, purchased from LOCAL farms that has been processed, in a safe, secure, way in a state-inspected commercial kitchen for our stakeholders - local farms, local food companies, local food entrepreneurs....

Rhubarb (my favorite - I put this first)
Sweet potatoes

This model can work all over the world. We need to run some more experiments (or as our food preparation team would say 'you said we would do WHAT?!!') With some more of this work under our belt, we can offer this piece of the local food puzzle to others.

I'm very excited by this prospect.

Congratulations to Annette and her team at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen on their first 25,000 pounds of local foods processing!

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Wisconsin Public Radio's Larry Meiller program

Iowa County (Wisconsin) economic development

Friday, October 22, 2010

Selling the artisan food career package

Very interesting opening night at the Madison Food and Wine Show. Through our past businesses I'm used to industrial and commercial trade shows. I thought those were busy and exciting. This is a consumer show with a lot more traffic. I'm told the Saturday and Sunday shows are much busier.

My daughters are running our booth masterfully. It was a sheer joy to work with them. I also had the pleasure of being able to introduce them to good friends in my food and economic development work.

I am actively selling our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen's artisan food career package for the first time. This will work. We'll do this for 100 people (partners) at this price then reassess. I'm very encouraged.

If you are near Madison this weekend, this is a great show. Come visit!

2010 Madison Food and Wine Show

Thank you to Madison Magazine for the photo

Friday, October 15, 2010

DC Central Kitchen / Robert Egger

I was a guest this week at a great Annual Meeting and celebration of our Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC). I've been a huge fan of WWBIC for a long while. My friend Phyllis from Madison Gas and Electric invited me to attend, and I was thrilled with this opportunity.

I'd wanted to hear the keynote speaker, Robert Egger, do a presentation since I learned about his work several years ago. Robert is the founder of the DC Central Kitchen. His contributions to life are many. Reading about the evolution of the DC Central Kitchen as a laboratory for creating good, sustainable work is truly inspiring.

I not only got a chance to hear Robert's presentation, 'One Voice For CHANGE' but had the great opportunity to meet with Robert for a wonderful conversation before things got underway.

Robert was very supportive of the models we're experimenting with. I'm just reading Robert's book 'Begging For Change: The dollars and sense of making nonprofits responsive, efficient and rewarding for all.'

It was a great honor to have Robert give a shout-out to our work at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen during his presentation. Humbling stuff.

Here is some wonderful text from Robert's book 'Begging For Change':


No matter what type of organization you lead, whether it's nonprofit, for-profit, or governmental, the results should be the same. The more purpose you create, the more profit you'll generate; the more profit you generate, the more purpose you create. Companies and organizations that strive for social change can show us the possibilities of running a businesslike nonprofit and a nonprofitlike business. And the marriage of these two ideas is our future."

Amen. Thanks for a great visit Robert!

Robert Egger's book, 'Begging For Change. The dollars and sense of making nonprofits responsive, efficient and rewarding for all.' Opens new window at Amazon.

DC Central Kitchen

Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corp.

Madison Gas & Electric, MG&E. MG&E contributes (thanks!) to the nonprofit / social profit organization I help run, the ICAEDC

Photo copyright DC Central Kitchen.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Artisan food career web site and public launch

With the help of many people, we are offering our one-time, fixed-price package of training and mentorship in artisan food entrepreneurship through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

For those just joining the story, the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is a new, 10,000 square foot food preparation facility in beautiful Iowa County, WI. The Innovation Kitchen is a shared use facility, which means the staff can prepare foods for food entrepreneurs for sale nationwide. With our great agricultural setting we have access to a wide range of wonderful, sustainably raised foods. The kitchen is also available on a rental basis for regional food entrepreneurs who want to process their own recipes.

Web site for artisan food career program. This is in roughest draft but it is wired in. Off we go...

The Artisan Food Career program.

3D Debut. Madison Food and Wine Show. We’ll be debuting the artisan food career package at the Madison (WI) Food and Wine Show October 22, 23, and 24. To lure the unsuspecting we will be sampling the amazing line of Farmhouse Recipes’ jalapeno jams over cream cheese and crackers (of course available for private label Christmas gifts with your family/business name and message…).

At this great venue, we’ll be available to introduce the artisan food career idea and answer questions about launching one through the Innovation Kitchen.

WI Public Radio Oct 27. The Larry Meiller show produced by Jim Packard: 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM. Just got an invitation to be a guest on Larry’s show on Wed., Oct. 27. Can’t wait to introduce our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and this artisan food career opportunity in Iowa County to a wider multi-state audience. Larry’s show makes a great contribution to Wisconsin and far beyond.

This should be a great month for talking about local foods and regional food systems as economic development tools for individuals and communities.

I so hope we can represent this opportunity accurately with all the possibilities and responsibilities understood by all involved. It will be an iterative process with all these checklists getting better as time goes on.

If you know anyone with an interest in an artisan food career, please send them our link:

Our Artisan Food Career program.

Thanks and eat well!

The Madison Food and Wine show. Oct. 22-24, 2010. Friday 5-9 PM. Saturday 12-7 PM. Sunday 12-4 PM.

We're joining the show thanks to the good efforts of Something Special from Wisconsin. Thanks SSfW !

Thursday, October 07, 2010

World Dairy Expo 2010

Yikes, what a great economic development juggernaut. The World Dairy Expo wrapped up its most recent show this week in our regional ag capitol and my home town, Madison, WI.

The World Dairy Expo is the international meeting place for the dairy industry. Expo offers the most elite combination of dairy cattle and exhibits in the world.

More than 65,000 producers and industry enthusiasts from 90 countries attended the 44th annual event. Thank you everyone for your great work in dairy agriculture and your support of this great venue.

This year’s vendors were outstanding. I got to visit with my friend, 2008 Organic Farmer of the Year Gary Zimmer of Otter Creek Farm in Iowa County, WI, who also operates Midwest Bio Ag, an international powerhouse in a biologically-based agricultural sales and consulting company.

Thanks for a wonderful show and congratulations to all the great producers, vendors and the more than 65,000 ag supporters who made this year’s World Dairy Expo a great success.

World Dairy Expo

Otter Creek Organic Farm, Iowa County, WI