Friday, March 23, 2012

Elite young Chinese scholars to visit Iowa County Economic Development and the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

I'm honored to learn our Iowa County economic development work has been selected by an elite group of young Chinese scholars for a visit this summer. They are being sponsored by the The Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS).

We especially look forward to discussing our economic development work with local foods and regional food systems at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

This effort can make significant contributions to environmental and public health issues.

Here are some quotes from the ENCSS web site (below)...

"Fifty elite Chinese sophomores and juniors with 'Key High School' status will take part in an environmental research and enrichment program in the Midwest this summer."

"The 18-day program -- now planned for Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois – will unite the Chinese students and some of their teachers with American peers for the program established by the Environment and Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS), headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

"The Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS) is a network that connects students, scholars, business, and government institutions in China, U.S. and other countries to improve the environment and public health. We share knowledge, opportunity, resources, and responsibility by facilitating collaboration, sustainable relationships and the development of people and organizations."

It is my understanding that our visitors will be from Key High Schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guangdong, and Hubei.

I look forward to joining this wonderful conversation. I believe environmental, public health, and economic development issues are closely tied together. If the world can improve these collaboratively and sustainably, this century will be ranked among the most positive in history.

I can't wait to meet our young scholars from China! Welcome!

Environment and Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS).

Download the ENCSS brochure. PDF

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

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

My family ties to great friends in China.

I think the ENCSS logo show above is very effective. Created by Population Design.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Congratulations Milwaukee Region Food and Beverage Industry Network launch!

The Milwaukee region is a global food capital with many of the best opportunities in the world for growing food companies and brands.

I shared a great evening last week in Milwaukee with old and new friends at the launch of the new Milwaukee 7 Food and Beverage Industry Network.

What a wonderful roll-out of a great new effort for the Milwaukee region and Wisconsin!

Thanks to my friend, Shelley Jurewicz, Executive Director of FaB Milwaukee, and Advisory Council Co-Chairs Eric Olesen (Co-Owner/President, O&H Danish Bakery), Giacomo Fallucca, (President/CEO, Palermo's Pizza), and Cathy Henry, (President/COO, Sysco Food Services).

Here is how FaB Milwaukee describes their wonderful approach:


"We are the growers, makers, bakers, brewers, bottlers, innovators, educators, owners, scientists, farmers, distributors, grocers and restaurateurs that bring us, and the world, our food and drink. Are you hungry for more?"

Check out these amazing Milwaukee region stats:

12 global food companies have their world headquarters here.

7 of the 11 world's largest food manufacturers are here.

#1 - Highest concentration of workers in the food industry.

#3 - Third highest concentration of food scientists in the U.S.

243 Food Manufacturers call this home. 14,170 food and beverage manufacturing employees. $582 million in food and beverage payroll.

#1 region in U.S. for water supply. Milwaukee designated by United Nations as a world center for freshwater expertise.

#1 Best metro location from natural disasters.

Nation's leader in urban agriculture.

Supported by our amazing Wisconsin stats:

#1 for cheese, beans, cranberries and ginseng

#2 for butter, milk, dairy cows

#2 for organic production

#3 for carrots, potatoes, peas, sweet corn

#4 for maple syrup, oats, tart cherries

#5 for cucumbers, mint

#5 for food manufactured products

#9 in agricultural products shipped.

The Milwaukee M7 / FaB core strategies call for our region to lead in sustainable food industry innovations including Innovation Kitchens. Great opportunities and partnerships are emerging in one of the most exciting cities and regions in the world, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Congratulations Milwaukee area Food and Beverage Industry Network! Forward!

FaB Milwaukee Congratulations on an inspiring launch!

Direct link to FaB Milwaukee video

FaB Milwaukee Core Strategies /Targeted Outcomes / Targeted Actions. PDF format.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Little Free Libraries and the Innovation Kitchen

My friend Rick Brooks (photo) helped bring the remarkable Little Free Library phenomenon to life. They started this amazing idea in the Madison, WI neighborhood where we raised our family.

Little Free Libraries are just that - small (20-30 book) libraries put up and cared for by private citizens and organizations around the world.

Rick and friends just received significant and well deserved media attention for their work.

At the link below you can hear and see many great recent shout-outs to the Little Free Library, including NBC Nightly News (Using Books to Build Community), and USA Today (Little Free Libraries are taking root on lawns).

Rick and I got to catch up at a Something Special from Wisconsin event in Milwaukee this week.

What a great mission the Little Free Library is on: "Building a sense of community and a love of reading. A worldwide movement to promote literacy, libraries and more."

We'll make Little Free Libraries part of our Innovation Kitchen story going forward. Congratulations Rick and Little Free Libraries!

Little Free Library. Keep up the great work!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Something Special from Wisconsin

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The key to sustainability in food or any business

Organizations don't get a bottom line until they can create and grow a top line.

That means revenue.

No organization can survive on wishful thinking. You have to sell something. You have to create continuing revenue. You have to fix a problem, provide a needed service, or create innovations that make life better.

Without sales and revenue coming in, the idea of a sustainable bottom line is a myth.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen offers a powerful tool for food based businesses, especially restaurants, to grow sales and revenues by creating and selling their own private label food brands. More options mean more ways for customers to buy. More options. More customers. More revenue.

You don't get a bottom line until you create and grow a top line.

Innovation Kitchen

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Iowa County Wisconsin Poultry!

Iowa County, Wisconsin is an amazing place with wonderful economic development opportunities unfolding every day, especially in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.

Our Iowa County Poultry group is moving to the next level in 2012.

This is a fun bunch, including some of our Iowa County Economic Development Board members.

I believe deeply in this kind of local economic development. Our Iowa County poultry group is growing right into a big regional opportunity. Thanks to all involved!

Save the date: Our Iowa County poultry group is sponsoring a free seminar on April 14th in Dodgeville, WI:

“Raising Meat Poultry for Fun and Profit”

Selecting a Breed
How to Start Chicks
Food: Organic vs. Commercial
Raising Chickens for Market
Health Benefits
Economic Benefits
Financial Benefits
Making Portable Pens
Processing Chickens
Chicken Finance 101

When: Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where: Sam and Maddies Restaurant, Dodgeville, WI

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Registration: Eventbrite

Many thanks to our Iowa County Poultry group for a great launch of a very cool enterprise. This is really going to be fun!

Local foods and effective regional food systems are a great economic development asset for all involved. Iowa County, Wisconsin continues to lead in many areas of this work.

Download our Iowa County Poultry seminar info.

Register for this event via Eventbrite

Iowa County Area Economic Development, my wonderfully diverse day job.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

An inspiring evening with the Inspiration Corporation!

I greatly enjoyed a wonderful evening with new friends at the Inspiration Corporation's annual fundraiser, 'One Inspired Evening', Friday in Chicago.

It was an inspiring gathering in a really cool setting. I'm flat-out smitten with the amazing work of their Inspiration Kitchens in Garfield Park and Uptown. What a creative and effective vision for community based economic development and social change.

The Inspiration Corporation provides many other valuable and much needed community services. I love their tag line: Inspiration Corporation. Catalyst for self-reliance.

I met many new friends including the Inspiration Corporation's Board Chair, Neal Kulick, their amazing founder, Lisa Nigro (photo), and Executive Director and CEO, Shannon Stewart.

The 'Welcome' page in this year's event handout gives a great overview of the Inspiration Corporation's valuable work:

"In an atmosphere of dignity and respect, Inspiration Corporation helps people that are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing."

"Last year we are proud to say that Inspiration Corporation assisted more than 3,000 individuals that faced homelessness, poverty, and other barriers to self-sufficiency such as recent incarceration."

Thank you for the invitation and thanks to all the event organizers including Honorary Chair, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

I could not be more inspired about the vision of the Inspiration Corporation and especially their Inspiration Kitchens! Thank you for all your great work. Forward!

Inspiration Corporation. Thank you Inspiration Corporation for One Inspired Evening!

Inspiration Kitchens. Thank you Lisa Nigro for your vision and entrepreneurial spirit! My kind of sustainable work!

Earlier post about the Inspiration Kitchens. Dine well. Do good.

Lisa Nigro's wonderful new non-profit, Transform U. Transform U supports individuals with cognitive disabilities in achieving fitness goals and in becoming certified peer fitness trainers for other individuals with cognitive disabilities. A spectacular social enterprise startup that's needed worldwide.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. An amazing community-based food processing facility in Iowa County Wisconsin, owned by the Hodan Center, a 501c3 Non-profit serving the goals of people with disabilities.

Inspiration Corporation's wonderful event 'One Inspired Evening' was hosted at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall, in the West Loop. This is a really beautiful venue!