Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Awards this week in Milwaukee

I am very thankful for an invitation to the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce 5th Annual Awards Luncheon in Milwaukee his coming week.

Here is a piece from their site (emphasis added):

HWCC provides assistance in business planning, market analysis, marketing strategies, effective day-to-day business operation and much more. In addition, it acts as an advocate on behalf of the Hmong businesses and economic issues that affect Hmong businesses. Furthermore, HWCC is a forum for Hmong entrepreneurs to discuss successes and challenges as well as offer one another support resulting in win-win for all of Wisconsin."

Can't wait to make new friends and learn more about growing our economy!

Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC)

HWCC 5th Annual Awards Luncheon. Sponsorship packages available.

Our Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp. (ICAEDC) is a member of the Mineral Point and Dodgeville Chambers of Commerce.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Positive feedback from a great new Innovation Kitchen Partner

The Innovation Kitchen welcomes a great new Partner into our family of services.

Our Innovation Kitchen is a model that food entrepreneurs can utilize to start or grow innovative food products and companies. It's also a wonderful opportunity for small businesses that want to expand into food sales.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen can prepare your recipes for commercial sale, and manage all the difficult food management steps in a spectacular state-inspected commercial kitchen. You get to market and sell your food products. Our team does the work!

Karen and John from Ye Olde Manor House B&B, in Elkhorn Wisconsin have come to the Innovation Kitchen and trained our team to prepare their amazing line of vegan recipes for commercial sale.

Karen and John are launching two new product lines initially, The Elegant Vegan and Vegan Eats 'N Treats. After a successful introduction and transition, the Innovation Kitchen will be preparing, packaging, labeling and shipping Karen and John’s recipes nationwide.

The introduction of these excellent new Partners into the system and the outstanding culinary results of this joint effort makes this moment special. We are all thrilled to welcome John and Karen, and we all look forward to sharing these treats at their B&B as well as through a growing network of sales outlets.

Here is a quick note we received from Karen following the recipe testing and training phase of all this delicious fun.

"I wanted to let you know that we have had absolutely the best experience possible at the Innovation Kitchen with Annette, Cathie, Scott, Ray and Becky. They are such professionals, so knowledgeable and just really nice people. They go out of their way to be helpful and they do so with such grace and friendliness that we know we could not have found a better setting for the production of our products. I also want to thank them again for their help. And the Hodan Center client employees are terrific."

"We hired the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen to produce our products. The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is a Hodan Center development designed to create jobs, income and opportunity for their community."

"The Hodan Center is a community based non-profit facility serving people with disabilities. Hodan clients assist with food production tasks that do not require licensed food specialists. The Kitchen is operated by a family that has been in the food production business for years. We are delighted to be affiliated with the Hodan Center through the Innovation Kitchen."

We are thrilled to welcome Karen, John, and their beautiful B&B, Ye Olde Manor House, in wonderful Elkhorn, WI, as new Innovation Kitchen Preparation Partners!

Ye Olde Manor House, in Elkhorn, WI. Photos above are from this beautiful Wisconsin B&B's living room and new indoor pool.

The parent company of these wonderful new food lines is Maxey Lynn, LLC

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Area Economic Development Come Grow With Us

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Innovation Kitchen and Iowa County foods celebrated on Discover Wisconsin TV

This is a wonderful time to celebrate Iowa County's food and agriculture successes.

The television program Discover Wisconsin has a feature program called 'Home Grown' that will focus on Southwest Wisconsin this weekend.

The show will feature an interview with our own Annette Pierce, Food Service Director at our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and Master of the Universe.

Other wonderful Iowa County Wisconsin food enterprises featured on the show will include:

Simple Earth Hops - Matt Sweeney and friends in Dodgeville

Lake Louis Brewing - Tom Porter and friends in Arena

Marr’s Valley View Farm - Lois and Mike, family and friends in Mineral Point

Here is a description about how to locate the show this weekend and in the future. Thanks to Lois from Marr's Valley View for these links:

"The show will be on Madison's WKOW Channel 27 at 6:30 on Saturday, April 23rd. To find additional days/times/stations near you, see Driftless Wisconsin's TV station guide by using the link below and clicking on TV Station Guide tab on the right side of the page:

After the episode has aired, you can view it for free at

Iowa County Wisconsin food and ag rock. What Annette and her team have accomplished at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is astounding! Congrats to everyone!

Now you can watch it on TV. Check it out!

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come grow with us!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Simple Earth Hops. Say Hi to Matt for me!

Marr's Valley View Farm, at the Mineral Point Market

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The strategic economics of healthy food

At the recent FamilyFarmed Expo I heard a compelling presentation by Professor Ken Kaplan, Associate Director and Co-Founder, MIT Collaborative Initiatives.

Ken's professional beat includes architecture, planning, electronics, technology transfer and health care among many others.

Ken said the largest economic and development institutions in our American society, from the Fortune 100, to the Defense Department, to our national research institutions now recognize there is a yearly $300 billion to $400 billion unnecessary loss to our economic system due to health problems that are preventable by fixing the food system.

It was also interesting that Ken believes the money to fix the food system will come through the health care system. Major American institutions believe it is a national strategic imperative that we fix the food system as a way to create big economic development gains through better health care for our workforce.

Many thanks to Professor Kaplan for his great presentation!

In support of this approach there was a good article this week, 'How to Save a Trillion Dollars' by Mark Bittman in the NY Times.

"A big deal is saving a trillion bucks. And we could do that by preventing disease instead of treating it."

"… we showed that we could get people to eat anything we marketed. Now all we have to do is build a food distribution system that favors real food, and market that."

"Experts without vested interests in the status quo come to much the same conclusion: Only a massive public health effort can save both our health and our budget."

"The best way to combat diet-related diseases is to change what we eat. And if our thinking is along the lines of diet improved = deficit reduced, so much the better. If a better diet were to result only in a 10 percent decrease in heart disease (way lower than Ludwig believes possible), that’s $100 billion project savings per year by 2030.

This isn’t just fiscal responsibility, but social responsibility as well. And the alternative is not only fiscal catastrophe but millions of premature deaths."

Better food, better health, lower costs, smarter outcomes. Sounds like a plan.

Ken Kaplan, Associate Director and Co-Founder, MIT Collaborative Initiatives

How to Save a Trillion Dollars. By Mark Bittman. NY Times. April 12, 2011

Photo is from our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

FamilyFarmed Expo, 2011.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy 6th anniversary Sustainable Work

Today marks the sixth year anniversary of writing these posts.

Here's what I first wrote on April 12, 2005. I was in a budget hotel in Dubuque, smearing oil and blood all over the notebook following a difficult - but successful - installation of our fluid recycling system at the local John Deere plant.

I'm still trying to do what I put in this first post. I'm more confident than ever we can pull it off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
What I'm trying to do.


I'm glad you've found you're way here. Welcome!

I've got this idea that I'd like to start a million more small, sustainable enterprises. However, I'm 50 something and I have a perfectly wonderful 90 hour a week job now. So I'm just going to have to talk about it here in my spare time. Hopefully I can help other people along this path. Can we get to a million new small enterprises? Come on along. Let's try. I look forward to sharing this site with you.

All the best,


Sustainable Work. Six years and growing. Opportunities are everywhere. Can't wait to read these posts six years from now!

Photo is through the kaleidoscope at our wonderful Olbrich Gardens in Madison, WI.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Corporate Report Wisconsin: "Kitchen Serves Up Jobs and Supports Farmers"

Thanks to Corporate Report Wisconsin for a new article highlighting the valuable jobs and economic potential our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen represents.

I'm encouraged by the amount and the quality of coverage the business and economic development media have brought to our story of the Innovation Kitchen.

Corporate Report Wisconsin's April 2011 issue featured Southwest Wisconsin. This includes Iowa County, Madison and Dane County, as well as the counties south and west out to our neighbor state borders.

Quoting pieces from the main article (emphasis added):

"That's where Rick Terrien enters the picture. As founding executive director of the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation, his passion and excitement for local agricultural initiatives is boundless."

"He quoted the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture in a recent post on his blog Sustainable Work. 'On average locally produced products return 70 cents of every dollar to the local economy. Non-local products return only 40 cents'"

"To Karen Lehman, from Fresh Taste in Chicago, local is 250 miles from the Downtown Loop. Fresh Taste is an organization advancing local and healthy eating in the greater Chicago area, encompassing approximately 8 million people. The produce being grown in Wisconsin is what will give those millions of people local food."

"'We're in a position to make a significant impact on the food lives of a lot of people that live around us', says Terrien. 'And, lift up the cover on the book, and it's an economic strategy'"

I especially appreciated the way that the writer of this article, Jen Bradley honored the Hodan Center's leadership for creating the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and leading the experiments in this emerging field. What a great example Tom and the entire Hodan Center team have set for the rest of us.

Ms. Bradley closed out the piece (linked below) with a quote friends will know I am passionate about.

"'I've had some really great business opportunities in my life but this is the one where I feel I can make the biggest impact' says Terrien",

This is a great opportunity to support entrepreneurs, farms, food, and innovation. We can use this experiment to create good new local jobs for people who really need support - especially in rural communities - while helping turn movements into functioning organizations.

And I get to eat the food experiments.

My kind of economic development!

Download story: "Kitchen Serves Up Jobs and Supports Farmers" (PDF format) Corporate Report Wisconsin. Copyright April 2011.

Link to main article at Corporate Report Wisconsin. Teaming to Win. April 2011.

Hodan Center

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come Grow With Us!

Images and text copyright Corporate Report Wisconsin Thank You CRW!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Building multi-state successes through local foods entrepreneurship

We had a great visit from economic development friends from Illinois this week.

My last business was a Wisconsin/Illinois enterprise. We won the United States small business new product of the year award. We were headqartered in Madison, WI and Streator, IL.

That business was focused on advanced manufacturing. Wouldn't it be fun and valuable to make this kind of multi-state collaboration work in local foods and regional food systems!

This week we welcomed Illinois Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Warren Warren Ribley and Therese McMahon, Illinois' Deputy Director, Office of Employment & Training. They visited along with my new friend Kathy Nyquist of New Venture Advisors and old friend Jim Slamma from and other new friends. Thanks for a great day!

We had a great chance to show off our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen model and how it can be replicated within states and across state lines.

Following our visit with Wisconsin's USDA Rural Development Director Stan Gruszynski last week, as well as private investors, I'm convinced there is a supportive network of private and public economic development interests that can be leveraged to help deploy a smart new network of these food facilities across multiple states.

Thanks for a great visit. Multi-state successes in entrepreneurship and local/regional foods begin with great conversations like this!

(Photos are of new economic development friends from Illinois.)

Warren Ribley, Illinois' Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Therese McMahon, Illinois' Deputy Director of Employment and Training. Photo from an award ceremony Therese participated in for firms supporting people with disabilities.

Mission statement for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity:

The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is the lead state agency responsible for improving Illinois' competitiveness in the global economy. Guided by an innovative regional approach, DCEO administers a wide range of economic and workforce development programs, services and initiatives designed to create and retain high quality jobs and build strong communities. DCEO leads the Illinois economic development process in partnership with businesses, local governments, workers and families.

New Venture Advisors and Kathy Nyquist and Jim Slamma.

Hodan Center's Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come Grow With Us!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wisconsin USDA Rural Development continues supporting our Innovation Kitchen on Public Radio. Thanks!

USDA Rural Development in Wisconsin has been a great asset to our state's economy, and specifically to our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Their State Director, Stan Gruszynski and our Area Director Carol Wetuski have shown strong support for our projects and made a difference when it counted.

Stan and Carol were on Larry Meiller's Wisconsin Public Radio show on Thursday, March 31. When asked about recent successes of Wisconsin USDA Rural Development they gave a great overview of the Hodan Center's wonderful Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and its role in regional economic development. Full link is below.

Wisconsin's USDA Rural Development team helped with not only important early equipment purchases for the launching of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, but even more important is their ongoing recognition and professional support for our work.

I've transcribed some of Stan and Carol's good words here:

Carol Wetuski: “One of the big initiatives is the Hodan Center where we were helping in Mineral Point. The Hodan Center is where we talk about local foods initiatives.

It’s a great resource for food entrepreneurship and getting food entrepreneurs started up – businesses.

We were instrumental in helping finance some of the equipment that went into that center.”

Stan Gruszynski: “And that’s a good jumping off point.

We just met with him (Rick) recently. People don’t know this but what they’re looking at in terms of this local food production isn’t just affecting these few counties in that area.

This is a broad swath. All the way from Minneapolis to Chicago has an interest in food production in southwest Wisconsin.

If they can get these local foods initiatives off the ground - and they are going to do that - because they are off the ground in some areas - it’s really going to create new opportunities for our local farmers and growers and producers and processors.

And that’s the emphasis that our national office, Secretary Vilsack has really been trying to stress – is that what we need to do is create sustainable rural communities.

That if we’re going to have a future - and he believes we can have it - then we need to kind of retool how we handle agriculture in rural communities. And how we get the most value of that agricultural dollar by processing and selling locally.

So, the 'Know your farmer, know your foods’ initiative, which has come out of the national office is one that is a good fit not only for southwest Wisconsin, but we’re hoping to expand it into other areas of the state as well."


Thanks to Stan Gruszynski, Carol Wetuski and all the great Wisconsin USDA Rural Development folks that are helping support development projects across our state and the entire region.

Wisconsin USDA Rural Development. USDA Rural Development Wisconsin brought over $929 million back into the state in 2010 – funding that assisted rural communities and individuals in a variety of ways to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technological infrastructures.

USDA Rural Development interview. WPR /Larry Meiller show archives. Search for the show Thursday 3/31/2011. 11:45 AM

Download Wisconsin USDA Rural Development interview on Wisconsin Public Radio. Condensed transcript. 3/31/11

Hodan Center's Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Area Economic Development. Come Grow With Us!