Roles for Educators
in Economic Development
In the Context of
Two “Local Food” Projects
Greg Lawless
Ag Innovation Center,...
In a prolonged recession,
with budgetary and political pressures to
cut public sector funding, Extension may
want to incre...
Types of Roles
• Applied researcher
– Data collection & analysis
– Zoomerang® surveys
• Information provider
– Organizing ...
Types of Roles
• Strategic planning
– Facilitator
– Participant
• Grant writer
• Storyteller
– Text, photos, video
– Press...
Risks & Dangers
• High expectations
• Risk of failure
• Politically-charged issues
• Intense personalities
• Turf battles
...
Engagement Continuum
Opinion
provider
Selectivity,
favoritism
Command
& control
Applied
Researcher
Advocate,
promoter
Stra...
Two Local Food Projects
• Grocers Buy Local – regional pilot project
• Food Business Incubator Network (FoodBIN)
Grocers Buy Local
• Partners: Wisconsin Dept of Agriculture,
Thrive and the Wisconsin Grocers Association
• Utilized a sta...
Video clip – not aired
2-second clip – went public
What is a Food Business Incubator?
• Access to processing
facilities
• Wrap-around technical
assistance and support
– Busi...
Incubator composition
• Food
entrepreneur
incubation
• Product
incubation/
custom
processing
• Hybrid usage
Food business incubators can:
• Support early stage
development of local
food products
• Provide satisfying
employment—as ...
Developing strong companies
• International
distribution
• Dedicated facility
• 2 owners have hired 4
additional employees...
Diversifying farm income
Food Business Incubator Network
• Algoma: Algoma Farm Market Kitchen
• Beloit: Bushel & Peck's Local Market
• Gays Mills: ...
Food BIN Roles
• Balancing group
cohesion with
inclusivity
• Differing public vs.
private sector needs
• Meeting economic
...
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)
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Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)

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  • Are we allowed to provide personal opinions? The fact is, with any engagement at all, it’s almost impossible to avoid. And our background and experience often make our opinions valid and valuable.

    Developing and implementing strategies are a fundamental and on-going aspect of economic development. Is it ever appropriate for Extension educators to be a participant in the process? As data collectors? Weighing in on pros and cons? Voting on decisions?

    When, if ever, is it acceptable for us to advocate and promote?

    It is sometimes counter-productive, if not impossible, to involve “everyone” in a process. Are there any defendable means of involving some individuals, communities, organizations or private companies, while leaving out others?

    (Examples of the latter: Home Grown Wisconsin initial membership; Grocers Buy Local supermarkets; Something Special from Wisconsin commercial; EDA selected communities.)
  • The “pilot” approach can enable some flexibility.

  • Partners can provide “cover” in the sense that they can carry out tasks publically that may not be appropriate for your organization.
    Using a state-owned logo had drawbacks, but it made it open to all, and affordable.


  • Lois working the freezer case. Greg did the same for much of a year– thought there is no photo record of it.
  • Photo op for DATCP, Miller & Sons Supermarket, and Thrive/UW Extension.
  • Anne – I wanted to get a laugh from this picture by saying that I’m not the only one who has occasionally stepped across the line of appropriate Extension engagement. At the Scaling Up workshop, this is where I would end things, since I only have 15 minutes. In the Extension conference in October, this is the point where I’d like to turn things over to you. For that PPT, if you could add a bulleted slide or two describing the FoodBIN project, and then just talk about how you made contributions to that economic development project– including where you fell on the “engagement continuum” at various points.
  • -Clarify difference between community kitchen and food business incubator.
    -our role as UWEX is to facilitate economic development through creation of successful businesses. We do this by facilitating the support and resources businesses need. This can happen in a private or public sector incubator…more specific examples later…
  • Custom processing is critical to expanding seasons and increasing profitability for farmers. The potential for connecting food incubator tenants with local farmers has already being demonstrated at the Farm Market Kitchen in Algoma.

    Seconds processing
    Increasingly, a critical issue for both the farmers and their markets is the lack of appropriate-scale food processing capacity. The viability of a local food system depends on creating an economically sustainable business model for farms... (and) it is becoming increasingly clear that a processing stream will be critical to providing adequate economic return...
    In agriculture, “seconds” are fruits and vegetables that are rejected for retail sale for their imperfect shape, size or surface. While seconds are often suitable for processing ingredients, very few small-to-mid-sized farms have processing equipment on the farm or market outlets for seconds.
    Season extension
    Organic peppers left to rot near Black Earth.
    Another key factor in farm profitability involves peak season production when a surplus of raw products dramatically deflates prices, and farmers often cannot even cover the cost of harvesting. The combined effect of seconds and surplus translates into lost profits and high-value crops being composted or plowed back into the soil.
    -UWEX role—connect farmers and processors, processors to markets. High degree of hands-on involvement in initial project facilitated quick development of product with real economic impacts for area businesses as well as critical learning for UWEX staff that allowed for increased knowledge transfer to other projects. Key is to be honest about role (involvement with other companies, larger systemic goals)
  • Algoma Farm Market Kitchen
    Bushel & Peck's Local Market
    FEED Madison
    Green County: Green County Economic Development and UW-Extension
    Iowa County Econ Devel./Hodan Center
    Kickapoo Kitchen
    Mazomanie Heritage Kitchen Incubator
    Opportunity Center
    Thrive
    UW-Extension Green County
    UW-Extension; AIC
    Vernon County Development Association and Vernon County UW-Extension
    Watertown kitchen project
  • want to establish group that can work together and develop trust as they develop their separate businesses. Ability to refer clients among the group to facilities with best matched equipment and support services
    This requires that we can’t invite every incubator in the state. Membership in group based largely on most promising projects at Feb 2009 meeting and regional proximity.
    EDA grant created strong economic development expectations. AIC played role in pushing product development, match making, partnerships. Pushed for pilot projects.
  • Economic Development: A Springboard for Extension Engagement (Local Food Initiatives)

    1. 1. Roles for Educators in Economic Development In the Context of Two “Local Food” Projects Greg Lawless Ag Innovation Center, Director UW-Extension Scaling Up Local Sustainable Food Systems Conference Madison, Wisconsin September 28, 2010
    2. 2. In a prolonged recession, with budgetary and political pressures to cut public sector funding, Extension may want to increase and publicize its role in economic development.
    3. 3. Types of Roles • Applied researcher – Data collection & analysis – Zoomerang® surveys • Information provider – Organizing workshops – Making presentations – Via Extension webpages • Network organizer – start-up • Network facilitator – on-going
    4. 4. Types of Roles • Strategic planning – Facilitator – Participant • Grant writer • Storyteller – Text, photos, video – Press releases • Matchmaker – Creating space for collaboration – Connecting individual companies
    5. 5. Risks & Dangers • High expectations • Risk of failure • Politically-charged issues • Intense personalities • Turf battles • Dynamic, unpredictable forces • Unclear boundaries for engagement
    6. 6. Engagement Continuum Opinion provider Selectivity, favoritism Command & control Applied Researcher Advocate, promoter Strategy team member Information provider
    7. 7. Two Local Food Projects • Grocers Buy Local – regional pilot project • Food Business Incubator Network (FoodBIN)
    8. 8. Grocers Buy Local • Partners: Wisconsin Dept of Agriculture, Thrive and the Wisconsin Grocers Association • Utilized a state-owned marketing logo
    9. 9. Video clip – not aired 2-second clip – went public
    10. 10. What is a Food Business Incubator? • Access to processing facilities • Wrap-around technical assistance and support – Business plan development, Label generation, Pricing, Marketing, Distribution, Regulatory issues, etc – May also include shared office facilities and services
    11. 11. Incubator composition • Food entrepreneur incubation • Product incubation/ custom processing • Hybrid usage
    12. 12. Food business incubators can: • Support early stage development of local food products • Provide satisfying employment—as a long term endeavor or short term strategy • Offer a diversification option for area farms
    13. 13. Developing strong companies • International distribution • Dedicated facility • 2 owners have hired 4 additional employees to assist with operations
    14. 14. Diversifying farm income
    15. 15. Food Business Incubator Network • Algoma: Algoma Farm Market Kitchen • Beloit: Bushel & Peck's Local Market • Gays Mills: Kickapoo Kitchen • Madison: FEED Madison • Mazomanie: Heritage Kitchen Incubator • Mineral Point: Iowa County Econ Development/Hodan Center • Monroe: Green County Economic Devel.and Green County UW-Extension • Prairie du Chein: Opportunity Center • Viroqua: Vernon County Development Asoc. and Vernon County UW-Extension • Watertown: Farm Market Kitchen • Thrive • UW-Extension Ag Innovation Center
    16. 16. Food BIN Roles • Balancing group cohesion with inclusivity • Differing public vs. private sector needs • Meeting economic development goals

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