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

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