Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wisconsin grows its ties with China. Our family is tied to our wonderful little Duanduan!

It seems to me that ties between Wisconsin and China are growing stronger and more valuable all the time.

All of the big global discussions of politics and trade will ebb and flow, but it is my great hope that all the small steps taken by families, businesses, non-profits and universities will strengthen ties between the U.S. and China that will grow increasingly stronger and endure for generations.

As I look to the new year, I look to new possibilities and new hope. New generations of families and friends that will make this dream happen in ways our passing generations could never have dreamed.

I am one of the lucky ones to be able to participate in this great shift. I am honored by a great friendship between my family and a wonderful family in China. We met our friends Yongchao and Xiaoling, while Yongchao was completing his MBA at Edgewood College in Madison.

Yongchao also works in economic development so we had much to share, but it was not work that brought us together. It was the great hope for strong and prosperous futures for our two countries and for our families that animated our long talks.

And now their family and the world's future is blessed by a new generation emerging. The photo for this post is of Yongchao and their beautiful little Duanduan, who celebrated her first birthday this past summer. Mary and I are honorary grandparents. Our daughters are doting aunts. When I look at my good friend Yongchao in this photo I know Duanduan's future could not be in better hands.

The University of Wisconsin is actively working on opening an office in China. If things go well it might happen as early as this summer. According to our newspaper it's something "everyone (the UW and their partners in China) wants to happen." The University of Wisconsin is also working to welcome hundreds of new students from China to the UW Milwaukee. A great new agreement was just signed this month to help this. According to a news report, "It could be the latest page in a long history of Chinese students coming to the Badger state."

Our family in Madison is blessed by our friendship with a family I greatly honor and admire in China.

Happy First Birthday Duanduan! Your family in the U.S. welcomes you - and all the possibilities our family friendship represents!

2008 photo Xiaoling took of Yongchao and me while the three of us were touring southern Wisconsin for fun. This picture was taken at Devil's Lake State Park in the Baraboo Range, just north of Madison.

UW-Milwaukee hopes to attract more Chinese students. Wisconsin Public Radio.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My year end Kiva micro loan update

I love doing my own micro loans through KIVA.

These are 'crowd sourced' loans. I get to use my own funds and make my own decisions based on my own criteria about who I lend to. I make small loans that are aggregated by Kiva into larger loans that can make a real difference in the lives of the entrepreneurs who need this support.

It's my firm belief we will soon be able to crowd source small investments into startup companies across the U.S.

Kiva makes this effort easy, internationally. Their reporting is not only transparent but inspiring.

I am not loaning out our family food money. I am loaning small bits of discretionary funds I can sock away between paychecks or as gift contributions from friends. My loans through Kiva are typically just $25 or $50 each. However, in concert with others, these small loans are aggregated into full loans that can make a difference.

At the end of 2011 here is the list of entrepreneurs worldwide my small contributions have helped fund. Kiva has just opened up funds for lending to folks in the United States through this model, focusing first on Detroit and New Orleans. Can't wait to start working in these great cities as well.

My year-end 2011 Kiva portfolio:

Mr. Allahverdy Kuliyev. Azerbaijan. 100% repaid.

Ms. Chantal Dolou. Togo. 100% repaid.

(group) Srey Touch Nuon Group. Cambodia. 100% repaid.

Ms. Josefina Aurora Castro Barrenechea. Bolivia. 100% repaid

(group) Canal De Bendicion 6 Group. Dominican Republic. 100% repaid.

(group) Karukara Women's B, Kihihi. Uganda. 100% repaid.

(group) Estrellas De Belen. Mexico. 100% repaid.

Ms. Mariam Ndagire . Uganda. 100% repaid.

(group) Saima Amir Masih's. Pakistan. Paying back.

Mr. Philip Gitundu Karanja. Kenya. Paying back.

Ms. Nancy. Peru. Paying back.

Ms. Bah Oumou Sangaré. Mali. Paying back.

Mr. Amador. Peru. Paying back.

Bushra's Group. Pakistan. Paying back.

Mr. Baktiyar. Kyrgyzstan. Paying back.

Ms. Irene Segunda Josefa Barrantes Novoa. Costa Rica. Paying back.

Ms. Battsetseg Dorjsuren. Mongolia. Paying back.

Mr. Timothy Koileken. Kenya. Paying back.

(group) Confianza Group. Bolivia. Paying back.

(group) Ayidote Group. Benin. Newly funded, December 2011. Congratulations!

This is the best way I know to support global entrepreneurship through micro loans we can do on our own. Thank you Kiva!

Please visit and support Kiva's great work

Photo is a compilation of entrepreneurs my small contributions have helped through Kiva

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Innovation Kitchen model working to support food entrepreneurship and business opportunities for veterans

A really great new conversation about food entrepreneurship opportunities for veterans is emerging in Milwaukee .

A group of new friends met Friday to discuss the economic development opportunities a platform like the Innovation Kitchen model offers veterans nationwide. We met at the Center for Veterans Issues (also home to the National Association of Black Veterans) in Milwaukee.

We also toured the Veterans Manor facility in Milwaukee (35th and Wells). I am very excited about the possibilities for launching food entrepreneurship programs like the Innovation Kitchen within this emerging new partnership to help support their great work.

What a positive, hopeful way to welcome the Christmas holiday.

More to follow about this and other wonderful opportunities springing up in Milwaukee and across our region.

Just wanted to say thanks friends for a great gathering. Your work is inspiring!

Center For Veterans Issues

National Association of Black Veterans, Inc.


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

USDA - Marketing local foods through value-adding channels gets largest market share

The information quoted below comes from a recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture report analyzing sales channels for local foods (links below). I posted about it earlier.

Here is a market for local food measured at $4.8 billion per year (several years ago) and is continuing to advance rapidly. Demand significantly exceeds supply.

Right now, we need more local foods infrastructure and fewer conferences about what to do about local food.

This is a big opportunity to create jobs and economic development. Experiments like the ones we're running at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen can be used to build sustainable business models for local foods across urban and rural areas.

In the report below, the Innovation Kitchen would be considered an 'intermediated channel' - that is, (my non-academic definition) steps between the grower and the consumer that add value.

From the report summary:

"What Did the Study Find?

• Marketing of local foods, via both direct-to-consumer and intermediated channels, grossed $4.8 billion in 2008—about four times higher than estimates based solely on direct-to-consumer sales.

• Farms marketing food commodities exclusively through intermediated channels reported $2.7 billion in local food sales in 2008—over three times higher than the value of local foods marketed exclusively through direct-to-consumer channels, and two times higher than the value of local foods marketed by farms using a combination of direct-to-consumer and intermediated channels."

"Most local food sales by large farms were marketed by those exclusively using intermediated channels."

In doing so, these farms were able to reduce labor expenses per dollar of sales by leaving the labor-intensive distribution of local foods up to intermediaries." (Medium farm and large farms were measured as $50,000 in gross sales per year or above)


The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is an 'intermediary channel' for our local growers. I like the term 'value-adding channel' better.

What the report doesn't say, is that these value-adding channels can not only supply labor-intensive distribution services, but they can contribute to the even more fundamental, and critical role of marketing and sales.

I love farmers markets and direct-to-consumer outlets for local foods. But I also see a lot of great new opportunities for farms, food entrepreneurs, and consumers to work through value-adding facilities, like the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

In this report from 2008, a small percent of farms captured more than half the total sales of local foods according to this study. They did it by marketing through more profitable value-adding channels. We watched this happen all year long at the Innovation Kitchen.

Value-adding facilities make local foods increasingly available to ever larger numbers of people at increasingly valuable price points for all involved.

When you can build local food value-adding facilities around business models that include support for community-based goals, like the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, you can move forward in many directions at the same time.

USDA original Document. Direct and Intermediated Marketing of Local Foods in the United States. 3.7 MB in PDF format.

USDA Report summary. PDF format. 2 pages.

Original post about this USDA doc.

Photo is from the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, our value-adding food processing facility, owned by the Hodan Center, supporting people with disabilities.

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come Grow With Us,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Great quote - and great ideas - from the new Innovation Kitchen video

One of the new videos produced by Prevention Speaks focuses on Kevin Lucey of Happy Valley Farm near Black Earth, WI.

The Innovation Kitchen has processed Kevin and Kate's farm products for both of the two harvests we have been open. Last year Annette and her team made Dilly Beans from their farm. This year we processed about 4,000 pounds of delicious Happy Valley Farm heirloom organic tomatoes into a wonderful juice.

This short video focuses on how family farms can utilize an Innovation Kitchen to their benefit.

Kevin (from the video): "So this gives an outlet - the Mineral Point kitchen does - for farmers to send them off to another place. Put a little investment in - they have to worry 'Am I going to get my money' - but the way that the banks are paying interest right now, you might as well put it into a jar, rather than into a bank.

So, we're banking our money"

Our Innovation Kitchen model can play an important (and delicious) role in helping family farms and appreciative customers find one another year round.

In these difficult economic times, farms and food entrepreneurs can invest in themselves rather than just waiting for something to happen. Happy Valley Farm is one of our great new Innovation Kitchen partners leading the way.

Thanks Kevin and Kate of Happy Family Farm for your patronage and your good words!

Direct link to this Prevention Speaks video, via Vimeo.

Prevention Speaks site. Innovation Kitchen story. Check out all three great videos.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Great new Innovation Kitchen videos from Prevention Speaks

A great new set of videos about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen was just released by Prevention Speaks, a project of the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources, housed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Here are descriptions of these three great Innovation Kitchen videos:

(1) "Innovation Kitchen:

A network of partners can benefit local farmers and schools with a facility focused on carefully controlling distribution , processing and packaging costs. Best of all, everyone gets a chance to regularly eat fresh, healthy food."

(2) "Farmers Expanding Markets

"We grow enough quantity all the time that we have more than we can sell at the stores," says Kevin Lucey, farmer. And that's where Innovation Kitchen comes in.

(3) "The Missing Link for Farm to School

"The challenges have been almost all logistics. How do you aggregate produce?"

Many thanks to Prevention Speaks for the great recognition and light you've brought to our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen story!

Here is the link: Prevention Speaks videos about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, through the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

Hodan Center, in Mineral Point, WI.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Conrad Eldred Terrien. Gonna Take a Sentimental Journey. Dec.14, 1920 - Oct 14, 2011

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,

Gonna set my heart at ease.

Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,

To renew old memories.


My Dad was a brilliant inventor, prolific entrepreneur, and one of the kindest, most optimistic, and most creative people I will ever know.

Dad followed Mom's passing by exactly 100 days.

Their spirit will live on in all of us who knew and loved them.

Thanks so much for everything Dad.

We love you and miss you with all our hearts.

Memorial to Mom, Katleen Fitzgerald Terrien. Dec. 1, 1924 - July 6, 2011.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Recognized for urban and rural economic development work - in the same week.

Just a quick note to give thanks for the amazing recognition given the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen last week.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is owned and operated by the Hodan Center, a community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities.

Last week, the work of the Innovation Kitchen was recognized twice, regionally and statewide:

- Once for their contribution to urban economic development.

- Once for their contribution to rural economic development.

- In the same week.

Our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen's Director, and Mistress of the Universe, Annette Pierce, leads an amazing team of food professionals that richly deserve this recognition.

Chief among those accomplishments: This year, their work helped create great jobs for 35 people with disabilities. Businesses were born locally, across the region and even nationally. Existing local enterprises grew. Jobs were created throughout the region. Urban and rural. Amazing. What Annette and her team have accomplished in their first real year of operations is astounding.

Congratulations Annette, and to everyone at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen! Thank you Tom Schraeder and your entire Hodan Center team for making this great experiment happen. You all deserve this amazing urban and rural economic development recognition!

Last week's Rural Development award

Last week's Urban Development Summit

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come Grow With Us!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Innovation Kitchen wins 2011 Top Rural Development Award

Wisconsin Rural Partners awarded the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen one of their Top Rural Development Initiatives for 2011 at a ceremony last Friday, at the 2011 Wisconsin Rural Summit.

Thank you Wisconsin Rural Partners, and thanks to all the many wonderful enterprises that are patrons of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

From the application:

"The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen has been recognized by federal, state, regional and local governments, non-profits, businesses, development organizations and the media for its unique and valuable contributions to economic and community development in rural America."

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation thank Wisconsin Rural Partners for this honor!

Download full press release, from Wisconsin Rural Partners. Opens in PDF format.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, owned and operated by the Hodan Center

Iowa County (WI) Area Economic Development Corp. Come Grow With Us!

Photo: Ricky Rolfsmeyer, Wisconsin Rural Partners, and National Chairperson of Partners for Rural America, presenting the 2011 Top Rural Development Initiative Award in Wausau, WI, Dec. 2, 2011.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A wonderful Urban Economic Development summit!

I had the privilege of making a presentation this week at the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin Summit in Milwaukee.

I got to catch up with old friends and meet many wonderful new friends. I love the Milwaukee area. Among many other virtues, this amazing region is globally vibrant in the world of food.

From the UEDA web site:

"10th Annual UEDA Community Development Summit:

This years topic is: "Food for Thought: New Recipes for Job Growth" Participants from throughout Southeast Wisconsin will gather to discuss how the regional food economy can become a driver for job creation."

My proposition was that the experiments we are running at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen should be replicated in the Milwaukee area.

In fact, a great group of new friends I met at the UEDA summit are already taking action steps in that direction. Action steps, for me, are the definition of a great conference.

Thank you for the invitation UEDA! Thanks to Executive Director Bill Johnson and Kristi Luzar who made all the conference magic happen!.

Radio Interview at the Summit. Rick and Shelly Jurewicz from M7. Wisconsin Public Radio.

Previous post about the 2011 UEDA Summit with full list of speakers. Also, my first post about the UEDA Summit.

Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen owned and operated by the Hodan Center

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is supported by the organization I work for, the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation

Thanks to all involved!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Joining Southwest (WI) Tech Entrepreneurship Advisory group

Thanks Dr. Duane Ford, new President at Southwest Tech in Fennimore Wisconsin for the invitation to join their newly established Entrepreneurship Advisory group.

Their goal is simple, direct and powerful:

"....identify, nurture and support entrepreneurs."

I'm grateful and enthusiastic about this invitation. Southwest Wisconsin is a wonderful place full of promise and opportunity. The new efforts Dr. Ford is setting up at SW Tech should help develop these opportunities across the region and beyond.

I'm now honored to be on Advisory Committees for both Southwest Tech in Southwest Wisconsin and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) in Southeast Wisconsin.

Our Wisconsin technical college System is making great strides toward job creation, business startups and entrepreneurship goals for the wider community.

I thoroughly enjoyed my presentation in Milwaukee this week as one of the keynotes for the Urban Economic Development Association. More on this later.

What seemed clear to me is that our Wisconsin technical school system has a strategic role to play in food-based economic development. I am watching them step up to meet this challenge. Milwaukee Area Technical College is launching several new degree programs in food processing management. Forward!

It's a great honor and privilege to work in such amazing areas across all of Southern Wisconsin.

Thank you for the invitation to join the SW Tech Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Dr. Ford.

It's the Renaissance age of entrepreneurship and it's just beginning. Check out programs from these two great schools!

Southwest Tech in Fennimore, WI.

WCTC's great Small Business Center in Waukesha County, WI

Link to previous Dr. Duane Ford post

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hypercard. Data mastery is very personal.

One more Hypercard post...

When we started our first business in the 70s we were very excited to get a few orders per day. When orders started coming in faster and faster we knew we had to control our data or forget about surviving, let alone growing.

We built our first digital business management tools on a second-hand Kaypro computer. I still have the 5 1/4" floppy disk we used to run our accounting on that system.

When our kids were born, they automatically joined our family business enterprise.

Anne was five years old in 1987 when we got our first Macintosh and our first database program, Hypercard. She had watched her Mom, (my wife and business partner Mary) organize all the information it required to manage our small business. Anne also understood very early that helping control that data made Mom happier. At the time most of the Macintosh programs started with 'Mac', as in MacPaint, and MacWrite. When we wrote our own database for our business (in Hypercard), Anne named it MacMom.

The idea of being able to control your own computer interface so that you could manage what specific information and outcomes you wanted out of your computer was a powerful new capability that seemed immeasurably valuable at the time. And it was easy, thanks to Bill Atkinson who created Hypercard, and the good folks at Apple.

Anne wrote a program in Hypercard when she was only six years old to teach her two year old sister Eileen how to use a mouse - and it worked perfectly.

Bill Atkinson gave a presentation at the 2011 MacWorld convention about the future of computing and he circled right back to this idea of controlling data in the most meaningful, most personal ways. This was from that talk:

"Atkinson believes that the killer app of mobile telephony will not be augmented reality or gestural interfaces or anything like that. Rather it will be earpiece that connects users to a virtual digital assistant who lives in the cloud and will remember the name of the restaurant where you had dinner last time you were in the city or the name of a vaguely familiar looking acquaintance approaching with his hand extended."

"I'm about to turn 60," Atkinson says, "and most of my memories reside in the brain of my wife."

When I repeat this quote, my family nods and agrees.

Once upon a time, MacMom, Hypercard, and Bill Atkinson made data control happen for our family and our small business. We could do it in real time. Not yet in the cloud, but in our family business. Amazing stuff then. Amazing possibilities for the future.

Hypercard lesson #2:

You do data control for yourself. It's not part of a business plan. It's the core of a sustainable business life.

Sustainable = repeatable. Repeatable = data control.

Bill Atkinson was an important figure in the early days of Apple, and the designer of the world's first popular hypermedia program, Hypercard. He currently operates a wonderful photography enterprise. My friend Larry met him at a recent computing conference and scored the autograph pictured above after sharing our MacMom story with Bill. Thanks Larry!

Fortune Magazine blog - Apple 2.0 Covering the business that Steve Jobs built, quoting Bill Atkinson on the future of computing.

Bill Atkinson nature photography.

Kaypro information at Wikipedia

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hypercard, data management, and building smart enterprises

I follow a good blog published by the folks at 37 Signals, creators of very popular hosted project management tools. (links below)

Their founder, Jason Fried recently posted an image of the beloved (to me) Hypercard interface.

Hypercard was a very early, very powerful database programming tool. We purchased the original version in 1987 for $49.95. They had to mail us our copy on diskettes because it hadn't been installed on the new Mac Plus we'd just bought (over $6,000 with no hard drive).

I first learned to build new business management systems digitally with Hypercard. We ran our family business, Banner Graphics, for over 25 years. We could not have done it without control over our information flow. In our later, most productive years with this business, we did it with Hypercard.

I'm forever grateful to Bill Atkinson and friends at Apple for this powerful, elegant contribution, especially so early. It was like being able to create your own private web site - customized to what you needed to know - before the internet. Amazing.

I'm going to post two Hypercard pieces while this is on my mind.

Hypercard lesson #1:

I believe new and emerging enterprises fail most often because they can't control their data. You must have a system to capture and control your data in a scalable way. If you can't, you're not sustainable. Period.

Sustainable = repeatable. Repeatable = data control.

Hypercard intro at Wikipedia

Signal vs. Noise. 37 Signals blog

37 Signals at Wikipedia

Banner Graphics, our family-run business for over 25 years.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jammin' for the Holidays with the Innovation Kitchen!

For the next few weeks, you can order a wonderful array of fruit jams and apple butter for the Holidays.

Best of all, we can personalize the labels on these gifts with your holiday greetings. Your personal or business holiday wishes will be printed right on the label.

These wonderful gifts are prepared at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen under their own Farmhouse Recipes brand.

For the holidays, we can personalize the label on these jars with your message and images.

Standard labels that we imprint are shown in the photo above.

If you send us your pre-printed labels (photo below) we can also put those on your gift jars. This is really fun.

As the saying goes, quantities are limited. While supply lasts. If you would like more information please send an eMail to the link below.

So, Happy Holidays to all friends of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

Here is what's available now (11/21/11):

Spiced Apple Butter

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

Peach Raspberry Jam

Peach Mango Jam

Gooseberry Jam

Blueberry Jalapeno Jam

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam

Cherry Twist Jam

I am a HUGE fan of their raspberry jalapeno jam spread over cream cheese on crackers. Guaranteed 'wow' moment.

If you would like to order your own private labeled jams or apple butter as holiday gifts, now is the time to act. We will likely stop shipping by mid-December. Minimum order for custom labeling is one case which is 12 jars.

All orders will include a short narrative about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and our parent organization, the Hondan Center, who are providing this valuable employment opportunity for my friends with disabilities.

What a wonderful gift for the holidays. Good local food and the gift of jobs for people who need our support.

Download a brochure about our customized labels featuring your holiday greeting

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center.

Iowa County Area Economic Development Come Grow With Us!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

USDA: ‘Locally grown’ food is a $4.8 billion business.

"Look, this market is bigger than you thought."

The USDA just released a new report on the economic impact of local foods.

This report estimates the total amount of local food sales is about $5 billion per year and growing.

This report deals with sales of fresh produce sold at farm markets and through regional fresh market channels (local retail, restaurant, and regional distribution outlets).

Within this market, there is a much bigger opportunity just beginning to emerge: professional food processing services.

At the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen we utilize fresh local and regional produce to help our customers create new specialty foods and ingredients. We provide professional food processing services to our customers, creating value added products in small batches. In our case, we are also privileged to help create good local jobs for people with very difficult employment options.

The specialty food market in the U.S. is about $63 billion per year.

When you combine 'local/regional' (about $5 billion and growing) and year-round sales of specialty foods (about $63 billion and growing), there is a tremendous opportunity emerging.

My startup pals would call this a very deep blue ocean.

Take for instance our friends at Alsum Produce. Alsum grows potatoes and onions in Iowa County Wisconsin, and near Friesland, mid-state, where their packing house is located. Photo above is Alsum Produce delivering fresh produce from our region to the Innovation Kitchen.

According to the article Alsum Produce has built a $50 million business in this market.

The Innovation Kitchen partners with many great suppliers such as Alsum, to source local foods that can then be turned into high quality food products that can be sold year-round.

Below are highlights from good article about the new USDA report (linked below) featuring a shout-out to our friends at Alsum Produce:

"A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of 'local foods,’ whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That’s a number several times greater than earlier estimates, and the department predicts locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales this year."

"There’s real demand in the market for people wanting to know where their food is coming from, that it’s going through local channels."

"On his 1,800 acres near Friesland, Wis., Larry Alsum, 58, grows several varieties of potatoes that he sells mostly to grocers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He also handles wholesale distribution for farmers who grow everything from cabbage to sweet corn, squash, cucumbers and peppers."

"He says his operation has blossomed into a $50 million business — roughly double what it was a decade or so ago — with a focus on locally grown food. Perhaps only one in five consumers actually cares what that means, he said, but it’s more than did just a few years ago."

“'As the cost of oil and gasoline continue to rise, there are going to me more opportunities for locally grown,’ he predicted. 'And that just gives us a built-in advantage in marketing.’"

Indeed. Thanks to our friends at Alsum Produce, and all the great producers and distribution companies that are working hard to make new models of local and regional food systems successful!

Full story at, the Boston Globe online.

USDA Report summary. PDF format. 2 pages.

USDA full report. PDF format. 3.6 MB. 35 pages.

Alsum Produce. From field to fork, Alsum Farms & Produce is responsible for growing, sourcing, packing and delivering the highest quality fresh fruits and veggies to your grocery store. We grow eco-friendly Russet, Red, White, Golden and Purple Healthy Grown® Wisconsin potatoes in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley. And we partner with family farms around the nation to provide you with over 300 quality fruits and vegetables every day of the year.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center, Mineral Point, WI.

Iowa County Area Economic Development Come Grow With Us!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

UEDA Summit to focus on regional food economy. Join us!

I'm honored to be asked to make a presentation to the Urban Economic Development Association Conference on Nov. 29. in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee's Biz Times just posted a short piece about this great gathering in their Friday Nov. 11, 2011 online issue, linked below:

UEDA Summit to focus on regional food economy

"The Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA), in partnership with the City of Milwaukee, will host its 10th annual Community Development Summit 'Food for Thought: New Recipes for Job Growth.'

The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago St. in Milwaukee from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year’s summit will focus on the regional food economy and the inherent opportunities available for economic growth and job creation within the food sector. Participants will hear from keynote speaker Jeffrey O’Hara, an agricultural economist with the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), as well as afternoon speaker Rick Terrien, executive director, Iowa County Economic Development Corp.

Attendees will also hear a special video message from Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power.

Other panelists and participants will include: Dr. Rich Busalacchi, MATC; Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo’s Pizza; Lincoln Fowler, Alterra Coffee; Cathy Henry, Sysco Food Systems; Shelly Jurewicz, Milwaukee 7; Young Kim, Fondy Food Market; Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Organics Foundation; Sandy Syburg, White Oak Farm Premium Organics; Mitch Teich, WUWM Lake Effect; and Olivia Villareal, El Rey.

“It is more important than ever to capitalize on each and every opportunity for job creation and economic growth in southeastern Wisconsin,” said UEDA executive director Bill Johnson. “We are seeing positive trends in the regional food economy. We need to come together as a community to develop strategies that will help forward and implement collaborative efforts in this emerging sector.”

The UEDA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting housing and economic development initiatives that revitalize Wisconsin communities and to building capacity in the housing and economic development field through professional training, innovative solutions, policy advocacy and collaboration.

Registration for the event, including meals and parking, are $35.00 for non-UEDA members and $25.00 for current UEDA members. For more information or to register for the event, visit or contact UEDA at (414) 562-9904."


Thanks for the invitation, Urban Economic Development Association. I'm looking forward to this great UEDA Summit!

BizTimes story about the UEDA conference, Nov. 29 in Milwaukee

UEDA Conference information. Join this gathering Nov. 29.

Earlier post about UEDA Conference

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 3. Raw Dog Relish

I haven't talked to Mike since the Madison Food and Wine Show but his wonderful Raw Dog Relish booth was one of my favorite stories of the weekend.

Mike sold out faster than any other vendor at this year's Madison Food and Wine show. Amazing.

Don't worry fans of Raw Dog Relish.

Annette and her team at the Innovation Kitchen have already prepared more of Mike's great tasting line. You can get more from Raw Dog and also on sale at the Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point.

We greatly appreciate Mike and Raw Dog's support for the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. We look forward to helping your great new food enterprise grow and flourish.

Congratulations Mike and Raw Dog Relish!

Visit the Raw Dog Relish Facebook page. Great launch Mike!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 2. RP's Pasta

Another great Innovation Kitchen Partner at this year's Madison food and Wine Show was RP's Pasta.

RP's Pasta was working from the Willy Street Co-op booth, sampling their wonderful pastas, including their amazing pumpkin tortelloni. Thanks, and great to catch up Kira!

We help Peter and friends at RP's prepare fillings for their amazing pastas, including pumpkin. We are proud to support RP's goal of 'Farm to Fork with a Conscience'.

From an earlier blog post quoting a Capitol Region Business Journal article:

"Although several commercial suppliers could make processed foods available, Robertson opted to go with the Mineral Point facility to provide vegetables for his stuffed ravioli and tortellini."

"They did it fast. They did it efficiently. And it’s 100 percent Wisconsin products, he said."

What a partnership! RP's pumpkin tortelloni was served at President and Mrs. Obama's January 2011 White House Super Bowl party (Packers win!).

Thanks RP's Pasta for your partnership and support for the Innovation Kitchen!

Original post about our Innovation Kitchen partnership with RP's Pasta.

RP's Pasta

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Willy Street Co-op. Thanks from my family, loyal Willy Street Co-op owner/members!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Innovation Kitchen partners at the Food and Wine Show. Post 1. White Jasmine.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is proud to support the food preparation needs of a wide variety of wonderful food companies.

At this year's Madison Food and Wine Show we got the chance to visit with a few of our favorites.

One of these is White Jasmine, an amazing food company based on a passion derived from providing fresh, natural and delicious spices to their customers.

Their President, Ms. Huma Siddiqui is a local food star in Madison, WI.

Photo above is our friend Samir Karimi, VP Sales of White Jasmine at this year's Madison Food and Wine Show.

Thanks White Jasmine for your support of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

White Jasmine's Facebook page

White Jasmine web site

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Join us - Urban Economic Development Association's 10th Annual Community Development Summit

I'm honored to be asked to make a presentation to the 10th annual Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin Conference. This year's event will be Tuesday, Nov. 29 in Milwaukee. Join us!

Here is info from their site (link below).

"A Call to Action! This year’s Summit will focus on how the regional food economy can serve as a driver for economic growth and job creation in southeast Wisconsin.

UEDA's 10th Annual Community Development Summit will focus on what food manufacturers, producers, distributors, retailers, urban farmers and others are doing to:

- Support the growth of regional food systems;

- Attract food and beverage manufacturers to the region; and

- Address gaps in training and education for employment in the food sector.

Be a part of it!

Attendees will participate, listen and identify approaches to forward this emerging sector."

This looks great. Keynote speaker will be Jeffrey O’Hara, Agricultural Economist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. I get the opportunity to make a presentation in the afternoon session.

There is a great group of presenters and participants at this year's conference:

Dr. Rich Busalacchi, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC)
Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo’s Pizza
Lincoln Fowler, Alterra Coffee Roasters
Cathy Henry, Sysco Food Systems
Shelly Jurewicz, Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership
Young Kim, Fondy Food Market
Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation
Sandy Syburg, White Oak Farm Premium Organics
Mitch Teich, WUWM Lake Effect
Olivia Villareal, El Rey Foods

Keep up the great work UEDA! Thanks for the invitation.

Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin's conference site.

Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John, Wisconsin's 2011 Rising Star Award winners!

New photos just came in from the Wisconsin Marketplace 2011 award ceremony in Green Bay honoring the outstanding diversity and value businesses in Wisconsin can bring to life.

Did I mention (with great enthusiasm) that our Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John won the 2011 Wisconsin Rising Star Award?

Our kitchen's production capacity helped John and Karen's amazing new food enterprise launch and grow.

Top photo is Karen acknowledging their award. Bottom photo is the award presentation featuring Karen, Governor Scott Walker and Secretary/CEO Paul Jadin, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Our kitchen partners run a wonderful B&B in Elkhorn, WI. You should visit for the inside ambiance, the beautiful outdoor environment, and (as my kids would say) OMG, the food. (linked below)

Congratulations Karen and John on your wonderful award! Thank you for supporting the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and thank you for letting us help you grow your new food enterprise!

Post about Karen and John's Rising Star Award

Original post about John and Karen's new food enterprise

Visit their wonderful B&B, Ye Olde Manor House, in Elkhorn, WI.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!

The link below brings up a photo page of some of the pumpkins I've carved over the years.

Now, when I go to work, I'm surrounded by thousands of pounds of pumpkins destined to become delicious ingredients at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

What a wonderful time of year.

Boo to you all!

Some of my pumpkin carving through the years

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Welcome Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

This past week Mr. Wyman Winston Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) visited our Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point.

Mr Winston brought along new and old friends from WHEDA. What a great visit!

We were able to show off the proven record and the growing possibilities our Innovation Kitchen has for making jobs, as well as starting and growing small businesses.

Our Innovation Kitchen business model has developed an experiment worth pursuing. We're proving this kind of processing facility can operate profitably for all involved.

This model can help rural and urban communities utilize local foods and smart, nimble business planning to build some valuable new economic development tools for Wisconsin and beyond.

Many thanks for a great visit WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Join us next week - Rehabilitation For Wisconsin In Action 2011 Economic Summit

I have the opportunity to speak next week about our efforts at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen to create jobs for people with disabilities and low income people. I'll be joining the 2011 Economic Summit for Rehabilitation For Wisconsin In Action at Kohler on Wed. Oct. 26.

I really like the conference title: 2011 Wisconsin Economic Summit. From Poverty to Financial Security.

Here is a short piece from the conference site:

"There’s more to poverty than a lack of income.

Wisconsin’s overall poverty rate rose from 12.4% in 2009 to 13.2% in 2010. Wisconsin’s pre-recession poverty rate in 2007 was 10.8%. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of people in Wisconsin living in poverty increased by about 143,000.

But in Wisconsin, there IS an effort underway to find practical, hands-on solutions to increase collaboration between the private and public sectors to lift people out of poverty toward financial security."

Through the efforts of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and its parent organization, the Hodan Center, we're helping support over 90 jobs in Wisconsin. We've also created employment opportunities for more that 30 people with disabilities, while helping start and grow dozens of new businesses.

Join us if you can in Kohler, WI next Wednesday Oct. 26. Link to the RFW home page and their conference registration page is below.

Rehabilitation For Wisconsin Home page.

RFW In Action 2011 Economic Summit information.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center

Monday, October 17, 2011

Congratulations Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John! Wisconsin's 2011 'Rising Star' Award winners.

Last week our Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John were awarded Wisconsin's Minority Business Enterprise 'Rising Star' Award for 2011.

Congratulations Karen and John!!!

Karen and John utilized the Innovation Kitchen to launch their own private label food business.

No matter where you live, you can too.

They own a beautiful B&B in Elkhorn, WI and have their amazing recipes prepared, packaged and private labeled for them at the Innovation Kitchen.

The fact that they are helping make great jobs for my friends with disabilities through the Hodan Center in Mineral Point is a great bonus for all involved.

Thank you for the opportunity to help launch your wonderful commercial food business through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Previous post about Karen and John's wonderful private label food startup

Hodan Center

Photo from Marketplace 2011. Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development - Congrats Karen and John!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Madison Food and Wine Show this Friday through Sunday - Oct 21-23

The Madison Food & Wine Show is coming up next weekend, Oct. 21 through 23.

Our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen Kitchen will be exhibiting under the Something Special from Wisconsin program.

We will be sampling wonderful jams from the Innovation Kitchen that can be given as holiday gifts to friends and for business gifts year-round.

You can even buy our great jams and jellies and have your own private label put on the jars. Your purchase helps support the employment needs of people with disabilities employed at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point, WI.

The Madison Food and Wine Show is open to all food and wine lovers, 21 years of age and older. Join us!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Photo is from last year's Madison Food and Wine Show, with my friend Christine Lindner, Wisconsin's 2010 Alice in Dairyland.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Visit Heck's Farm Market

One of our favorite Innovation Kitchen partners is the wonderful Heck's Farm Market near beautiful Arena, Wisconsin, gateway to the Wisconsin River valley.

Heck's Market is a valuable partner of the Innovation Kitchen. We are preparing some wonderful private label recipes for their great farm and market operations.

If you're in the greater Madison area, or making the drive on beautiful Highway 14 (University Avenue) west of Madison, stop in and visit. Links below.

Hard not to love a farm when their 3 year old granddaughter, potentially their multi-generational family farm's future leader, is giggling and blowing kisses at her Grandparents during our meeting.

I've bought many of my carving pumpkins from Heck's for years. While I was at Heck's last Friday I got the best one I've found in years. If you're looking for great carving pumpkins this year, you should check out Heck's.

Thanks Heck's Farm and Market in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin!

The Innovation Kitchen is honored to support our local farms and help preserve their artistry as growers into new food product lines that can be sold year-round across big regions.

Heck's supports Badger Honor Flights

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Wisconsin economic development

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Marketplace 2011. Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development - Oct. 13. Green Bay - Join us!

Join us in Green Bay next Thursday, October 13 for a great day of business connections.

This is the 30th Annual Wisconsin Minority Business Enterprise Conference. It is a landmark event celebrating decades of MBE achievements in Wisconsin!

One of our favorite Innovation Kitchen partners, Karen and John of Maxey Lynn and Ye Olde Manor House B&B are in the running for one of this year's MBE Rising Star Awards.

This award recognizes an emerging for-profit business that shows great promise as an innovator, either by virtue of its product or service offering, or shows promise of strong competitive advantage and growth because of its business model.

Among the event's sponsors are many I admire, including a couple of organizations I've worked with directly.

Harley-Davidson Motor Co.was the first major corporation to take a a chance on our work in my last significant startup. Here are two posts about my work with the great Harley-Davidson: 2005 and in 2007.

The investment Harley-Davidson made in our technology was a huge boost to our startup. This led to our winning the Wisconsin Governor's New Product of the Year Award twice, and in 2005,our being awarded the United Sates Small Business New Product of the Year Award.

This great event is also being sponsored by WHEDA - our Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. I'm looking forward to catching up with WHEDA friends from around the state. Also, all of us at the Innovation Kitchen are very much looking forward to a scheduled visit by Wyman Winston, WHEDA's Executive Director later this month. We can't wait to show off the place!

Lastly, our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen booth is being sponsored by good friends from Heartland Information Research. Thanks!

Join us next week in Green Bay for Marketplace 2011 and the Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development!

Marketplace 2011 Conference Link

Photo credit:
2010 MBE Wisconsin awards. Thanks

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Welcome Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers!

The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer's Association toured the Innovation Kitchen on Saturday.

Their group is dedicated to improving the ability of its members to produce and market the finest maple syrup in North America.

We think our Innovation Kitchen can be a great tool for building creative marketing options for your wonderful product.

Thank you WMSPA friends. I really enjoyed our visit!

Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer's Association

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ. "It was the start of a new business."

Bob Page and his wife Judy are excellent culinary entrepreneurs who have found a home at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

I love the slogan for their new barbeque sauce company: "So good you'll lick your napkin."

I think their story makes great sense for other folks who want to expand food enterprises by having their products made for them safely in a state-inspected, professionally staffed processing kitchen.

A recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal featured Bob's work (emphasis added): "For many, giving homemade gifts — pretty jars of cookie mix, quince preserves, cherry brandy — is an annual tradition."

"For former caterer Bob Page, it was the start of a new business."

"'I always give my employees for Christmas some handmade gift, a food gift,' said Page, who runs the cafeteria at Land’s End Corporation Headquarters in Dodgeville."

"Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ launched on July 1.... 'I believe in doing flavors that are going to make the food stand out more than the sauce,' Page said. 'You’re tasting the food — you get a little burn (from the habañero) as it’s going down your throat, but it’s not so much that you’re going to need a glass of water.'"

"More recently, Page has added a Honey Chipotle version (with 'a little more sting to it') and a dry rub made with paprika, cumin, chile, seasoned salt, cayenne, garlic, brown sugar and onion."

As with all new enterprises, there are many new challenges for all involved. I love their attitude: challenges = opportunities to learn and grow.

“There’s definitely growing pains,” he added. “We’re learning as we go.”

We're grateful to Bob and Judy, and the opportunity to help grow their amazing food lines. They are helping us grow as we help them grow.

Congratulations Bob's Bitchin' BBQ! Your friends at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen are cheering you on!

Dodgeville man finds the spice of life with BBQ sauces. Wisconsin State Journal. Sept. 27, 2011

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New video promoting the wonderful Madison, WI region

I love the area where I live and work.

Both sides of my family lived in Wisconsin before 1850.

I recently helped with a video promoting the Madison, WI region. This was for a new economic development initiative called Advance Now.

Watch this video. My contributions are at the beginning and the end.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Disabled girl gets spot on cheer team, hundreds of miles away

At the Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point, I have made many new friends who also have disabilities.

It's an honor and a challenge as an economic developer to support the life goals of my new friends.

Platforms like the Innovation Kitchen not only create employment opportunities for folks with disabilities, they create wide ranging economic and social benefits for the society we live in.

This is a new economy. We need to create opportunities for everyone to contribute. Everyone benefits from that kind of world.

Here's a short, inspirational piece about how collaboration among people of good will can change one person's life and also change the world.

Video of a dream coming true through collaboration Thanks to CNN video.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen - rural / urban collaboration on food as economic development

Our work at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is being incorporated into a wonderful effort to create jobs and new businesses in both rural and urban areas of Wisconsin.

This food-based project is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program and Milwaukee's Social Development Commission.

Our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is one of three partner organizations in this effort. If this project comes to life, we are very much looking forward to working with Will Allen and his Growing Power organization, and the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute in Milwaukee.

From the application:

"The three partner organizations will identify existing and new small businesses involved in various aspects of healthy foods in Milwaukee. Each will provide technical business assistance and support to enable these businesses to expand and create jobs for low-income residents of Milwaukee. These partners are Growing Power, the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute (MEI) and the Milwaukee Business Improvement District #32. In rural southwestern Wisconsin, the main partner is the Innovation Kitchen, a state-of-the-art commercial processing kitchen."

"Small businesses involved with the Initiative will be able to have the Kitchen buy the ingredients, store and prepare the recipe, package, label and ship it to Milwaukee."

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program

Milwaukee's Social Development Commission


(Photo) Elegant Vegan's Piquantly Pickled Okra . Nice blog post about one of our partners and their wonderful products. Good quotes from the ever-wonderful Olivia Chase. Their amazing pickled okra is pictured above.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Congratulations again Sue Noble! Thank you President Obama.

My friend Sue Noble is an extraordinary economic developer.

I recently posted a short piece about Sue's recognition at the White House.

Sue was among a handful people nationwide chosen for recognition as an American 'Rural Champion of Change'. Wow! Many congrats Sue!

Before I accepted my current job I talked with Sue. I took Sue's direction for common goals for our work and our region. Looking back, she was dead on.

Now, when I have questions about big-picture economic development stuff, I call Sue.

This new photo just came in from Sue's award event at the White House 'Rural Champion of Change' ceremony.

Congratulations Sue, and thanks for all your great contributions to economic development and job creation in our region, rural America, and beyond!

Vernon County (WI) Economic Development, Sue Noble, Executive Director.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

David Stoltzfus - Innovation Kitchen friend, grower, and buyer.

My friend David is a great farmer, and a real gentleman.

The Innovation Kitchen has partnered with David, an Amish farmer from our region, for the second year to provide healthy, local, nutritious produce to our kitchen and to our customers. We all look forward to doing business with David going forward.

It's fun - an an honor - helping connect friends like David into the emerging new networks of people interested in sustainable regional food systems.

In one of the next posts, there will be news about a really cool new project that utilizes this kind of model to help connect food growing regions with a big regional urban area, in our case Milwaukee. This can be replicated elsewhere once we work out the wrinkles.

I think David, and farmers across the country can benefit through new business models that the Innovation Kitchen is prototyping.

David's wonderful butternut squash is headed into fame as an ingredient in amazing pasta mixes created by one of the Innovation Kitchen's best customers (served at the White House Super Bowl party this past January!).

Thanks very much David for supplying the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen with produce we love and a great business relationship we honor.

Our kind of partner!

When I visited last week with Dr. Duane Ford, new President at Southwest Tech there was an Amish buggy tied up outside his office. I KNEW I was in the right place!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Congratuations Dr. Duane Ford and Southwest Wisconsin!

Dr. Duane Ford recently became President of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore, WI.

This is great news for all of Southwest Wisconsin. Dr. Ford was just at the Innovation Kitchen and posted about it in his blog (quoted below).

Dr. Ford will be a great leader for SW Tech and for our region. A quote I liked in a recent newspaper interview sums up what I've seen in my work with Dr. Ford: "'Community interaction has been an ongoing theme of my career', he said. 'Southwest Tech has a good outreach in the district and that is one of the things that appeals the most to me. Technical colleges are deeply in touch with their communities.'"

I've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ford, and he walks the walk. He and Derek Dachelet from SW Tech just stopped in the Innovation Kitchen in Iowa County for a great visit. Dr. Ford's blog post accurately describes the opportunities for job creation and business development that the Innovation Kitchen represents:

"Our next stop was across town at the aptly named Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. This operation is an innovative, fully-staffed commercial kitchen that supports innovation in the production of local food products. Rick Terrien, Executive Director of the Iowa County Economic Development Corporation, and Wally Orzechowski, Executive Director of the Southwest Community Action Program, informed us that there are many kitchen incubators around the country where entrepreneurs are invited in to prepare their own food products for public sale. But there are no others that are fully-staffed and able to take an entrepreneur’s ingredients and/or recipe and make “prototype” or production batches of the entrepreneur’s dream food product."

"The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen’s production staff can efficiently produce non-meat or dairy products ready for sale nationwide. By letting the staff take care of production, compliance, and related issues, the entrepreneur can focus his or her energy on product development, marketing, and sales. If you have some time, I strongly encourage you to look at their website or stop by and visit. This is a remarkable operation that Rick, Wally, and others hope to replicate across our region. And by the way, they are looking for investors to help them make this happen."

Dr. Ford got this exactly right. Thank you.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College has a great new leader. Congratulations and welcome Dr. Duane Ford!

Dr. Ford's blog: Southwest Tech District Tour – Mineral Point and Blanchardville. Posted September 1, 2011

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in beautiful, Iowa County, Wisconsin

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Two new jobs today! A great interview with Thomas Friedman

We made two new jobs at the Innovation Kitchen today. We're inventing stuff, making stuff, expanding our enterprise and helping create and grow small businesses across our region and beyond.

There was a good interview this evening with Thomas Friedman, NY Times correspondent and three time Pulitzer Prize winner titled, 'How America Fell Behind'. It was on NPR's All Things Considered (linked below).

The interview focused on a new book Mr. Friedman helped co-author: 'That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back' by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, published in September 2011.

I have not read the full book yet but excerpts and this interview will insure I do.

What has caught my attention profoundly is Mr. Friedman's strong focus on the strengths and ingenuity of our United States citizens and how we can compete wisely and successfully going forward in an economic world undergoing great upheaval.

In discussing the ineffective and transient role multinational companies play in the long term economic development life of our communities, Mr Friedman talks about ways we can utilize our own strengths to rebuild our country from the bottom up, with resources within all of us.

Emphasis added:

"What needs to be our vision going forward?"

"There is kind of a hankering today of 'When is Ford going to put in that 50,000 worker factory in my city, and when is Intel going to come? Folks, it's not going to happen. Because those factories are all incredibly roboticized, automated, and they are capital intensive, not labor intensive."

"We are not going to have a 50,000 person factory in your town. What we need are 50,000 people, 1,000 of whom are starting jobs for 10 people, 50 of whom (starting jobs for) for 100, 100 of whom for 30. That - everybody needs to be starting something."

(Mr. Friedman on why he is optimistic about our future in America)

"This country is full of people today who just didn't get the word.... they just didn't get the word that we are down and out, they just didn't get the word that Washington is paralyzed."

"And they go out and start stuff, and invent stuff, and fix stuff, and make stuff, no matter what's going on in Washington."

I love that - everyone needs to start something! People all over are starting stuff and making change in their own communities.

Today we welcomed two new employees to the Innovation Kitchen. Our workforce of folks with disabilities is now about 35. Welcome! And tomorrow I'm meeting with my favorite College President to discuss hiring some of their graduates to meet the needs of our growing regional food initiatives.

It's great being among people that didn't get the word we can't change the world.


Listen to the NPR interview with Thomas Friedman, Sept. 6, 2011.

Hodan Center's Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in Iowa County, Wisconsin

Photo of Thomas Friedman is from his Wikipedia page