Throughout the country are all the signs of a burgeoning local food movement. Farmers markets, incubator kitchens, and hubs forming a linkage between producers and the public – all the pieces and parts of a growing consumer demand for local and fresh food. Economic development strategies swirling around the topic of food are increasingly appearing in municipal and regional planning efforts, often under the banner of “sustainability.” What could be wrong with this picture?
We at Manheim Solutions, Inc. applaud the interest of communities in developing economic development strategies that seize a moment in time when local food can translate into jobs and quality of life. But we have too often seen that where a thorough up front analysis is not conducted, communities will find that the pieces and parts do not translate into measureable economic development success. Our specialty lies in starting not with the pieces and parts but in good old fashion planning that takes all of the above into account as to its fit with a particular community. We begin with our proven expertise in economic development strategies. With food, we call it “Foodshed Strategies.”
Foodshed Strategies is a step by step process in which our team members take your community through a planning process that produces a vision of a local food economy that results in measureable value. It begins with understanding your “foodshed,” defined as knowing your food assets, location, site selection strategies, goals and stakeholder buy in. It takes into account the timing and steps necessary for success and finally, how to measure results. It does not differ from the planning undertaken every day by communities as they pursue more traditional economic sectors such health care, technology and retailing.
Manheim Solutions is committed to helping your community “seize” the movement, the local food movement, to produce real economic and community value.