Testimonial from Sylvia Lovely, Food Consultant

December 26, 2013

The Manheim Solutions Team recently received this testimonial from Sylvia Lovely of Foodscape, and retired CEO of the Kentucky League of Cities. Sylvia may be reached at www.foodscape.US/co-host,  Food News and Chews television and restaurant owner. Enjoy Sylvia’s comments on how she used our Moscow, Idaho Study as a case study in her  “Seize the (local food) Movement” that she recently conducted at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities in Seattle, Washington.

Interest in the local food movement is exploding across the country.  Nowhere was that more apparent than among the participants in a workshop entitled “Seize the (local food) Movement” that I recently conducted at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities in Seattle, Washington.  An eager audience of elected city officials, they were of course interested in how to begin.  Some came to learn more about food trucks; some wanted to know how to make their farmers markets perform better.  In light of this strong desire but a lack of knowledge of where to begin, the case study of Moscow, Idaho, which I presented to the group, stood out.  Having conducted a New City Initiative in that community in the past, I was pleased to see community leaders furthering that success with a natural extension into the local food movement.  Moscow began its journey in developing a local food system with its eye on developing a food aggregating facility.

Retaining the services of Manheim Solutions, Moscow “hit the jackpot.”  Chris Manheim and his group stepped in with the recommendation of an “assessment” that would inventory the community assets and pinpoint the appropriate starting point in building a local food system – and not to jump to building the aggregating facility right away.  This was particularly impressive as too many of our communities fall victim to consultants who move in and out quickly without thoroughly analyzing the client’s needs.  Under Manheim’s guidance, the community has engaged in a series of activities that serve to reach out to community stakeholders to seek ways to be most effective in future strategies instead of settling too quickly on one path.  Moscow has embarked on a series of summits that will build momentum and ultimate success in engaging in a local food system. In interviews I have conducted, Moscow community leaders and stakeholders are happy with the pace of progress and are already seeing the fruits of this deliberative approach.

Having worked with cities and communities for over 25 years, I would enthusiastically recommend the services of Manheim Solutions to any community that wants to “do it right” and engage in the local food movement or any other economic development initiative.