Elgin, IL – Earlier this month, The Manheim Solutions Team presented its feasibility study on the Latah County, Idaho Food Innovation and Resource Center at the International Economic Development Council in Philadelphia. The study was prepared for the Latah County Economic Development Council FIRC Working Group and the Clearwater Economic Development Association. Manheim Solutions, Inc. worked in partnership with the Watson Regional Economic Network of Moscow, Idaho.
The IEDC panel was entitled “Getting the Most out of Local Food: Establishing a Foodshed Innovation Center.” The panel consisted of Dan French, JD, LLM, Manheim’s Director of Environmental Strategy and Planning; Michele Vachon, CHMM, MS, a Manheim Associate and Program Manager, Building Sustainable Communities Initiative at the University of Idaho, Moscow; Ms. Robin Fahle Ohlgren, Assistant Executive Director, Latah County Economic Development Council, Moscow, ID; and Mr. Kenneth A. Meter, MPA, President, Crossroads Resource Center, Minneapolis, MN.
The panel focus was successful economic development projects designed around farmer’s markets and food hubs. As urban and rural communities alike strive to increase access to healthy foods, spur job creation, and revitalize dormant downtown areas, economic developers must help to drive informed decision-making about the siting and viability of local food-based establishments. This session demonstrated how to utilize typical site selection criteria, including economic impact, SWOT analysis, and survey research tools, to provide a method for determining the appropriate supply and demand for locally grown foods.
Mr. Manheim, President of Manheim Solutions, Inc., brought to the panel nearly four decades of experience in both state and local public policy and economic development and moderated this session. Mr. Dan French is a licensed attorney and an environmental transactions expert with an extensive background in site selection, formulation of project-level strategy and analysis. Sustainable land use planning is a particular focus of his practice. Michele Vachon is affiliated with the University of Idaho, providing land use planning, brownfield redevelopment, community economic development and grant writing assistance to communities. Robin Fahle Ohlgren is now Managing Director with SEWEDA (Southeast Washington Economic Development Association). She is also the COO for AppraiserMetrics, a dot.com data management systems company for land use professionals and serves on the boards of Back Yard Harvest and the Palouse-Clearwater Food Coalition.
Kenneth A. Meter, MPA is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking and social Concerns. As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter holds 41 years experience in inner city and rural community capacity building.