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!