Photo (CC 2.0) by PunkToad, on Flickr
If you are running a small business you know that one part of the equation is getting your product in front of the customer.
The link provides you with a creative solution being used by one local foods entrepreneur. The business owner didn’t invent anything new but simply took existing technology and put it to use somewhat differently. In this case, the different way was the selling of local meats.
As noted in the article, such machines are, and have been, used in similar ways for a few years. I can remember getting food out of vending machines in college and airports. So why not use it for local foods.
Yet it took someone to think a little bit out of the box. The idea allows for 24/7 sales, adds a virtual sales person, and can help someone expand their market reach.
This is just one way that a creative thought can move your company forward. Remember, standing still is not an option.
Photo by Lance Cheung.
As spring arrives, access to local foods will be once again be on the mind of consumers. And one of the things they will be asking is about food safety. The Michigan State Center for Regional Food Systems shares their report on a food safety pilot project they tried. Thanks to Mary Zumbrunnen, Richard Pirog, Michelle Walk, Phil Britton, Phil Tocco and Natasha Lantz for their work and for sharing the report.
Those of us working in local food know how important food safety has become to farmers, food hubs, and food buyers; we all want to have safe food and we also want small farmers to continue to have access to a variety of direct and intermediate food markets. This case study (link below) provides an overview of the processes, challenges, benefits, and lessons learned from the Group Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) pilot project in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan.
The project goal was to test how a group-based farm-based food safety certification process could benefit small farmers. The U.P. GroupGAP pilot project and this publication is a cooperative project led by the U.P. Food Exchange, MSU Extension, Marquette Food Coop, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) and the Wallace Center at Winrock International. Partial funding to support this pilot project came from the USDA Speciality Crop Block Grant program (administered by MDARD) – provided to MIFFS. Other funding sources include the U.P. Food Exchange, the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Special thanks also goes to Cherry Capital Foods.
Extension offices across the country have the capacity to help small business owners.
In Michigan, Michigan State University working with local libraries, chambers of commerce, and others formed Business Resource Center Network. The network is part of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance.
Many of the resources are available online and open to anyone interested in starting and/or better running a business. There are business planning tools, books, and additional links to help the entrepreneur. The MSU Library offers regular book reports on new materials that help inform business owners and their decisions.
And if you live in the area, you will find a calendar of training events and workshops.
Being successful in business means taking advantage of resources. This resource is just one example of the local resources you might find in a community. Give your business a boost; check out these resources.