Videos tagged as 'food incubator'

Local Roots 2011

Local Roots, based in downtown Wooster, embodies rhizomic growth. A small group of farmers, educators, artists, financiers, and consumers got together in 2009 with a vision for a retail local foods storefront in downtown Wooster. A year and a half later, they have 140 farmer-members and  more than 400 consumer members occupying two previously vacant downtown storefronts in Wooster. Rolling up their sleeves, farmers and volunteers are busy at work expanding the store to include a certified kitchen space that can be used to prepare local foods for the in-store cafe or for use by the farmers that comprise the cooperative. Local Roots demonstrates a business model where a business can help to incubate other businesses and farm-based enterprises. Could this happen in your community?

Introduction to ACENet in Athens, Ohio

The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet) is one of the nation's pioneers in network-based local food systems development. ACENet began their work in the 1980's,  long before the terms network weaving or social networks were even known. ACENet has specialized in cultiaving networks of farmers, small entrepreneurs, and businesses engaged in growing the local food economy in Appalachia. One of the poorest rural regions in the nation, ACENet has created economic models that provide new opportunities for low and moderate-income food entrepreneurs, creating pathways for long-term economic sustainability. This contrasts with a lot of the extractive industries that have come and gone in Appalachia, leaving landscapes and local economies struggling. Leslie talks about some of the history of ACENet and the unique culture and topography that have supported one of the most diverse agricutlural sectors in Ohio.

Affinity Groups: Economic Development
Local Food Infrastructure- Flash Freezing

Leslie Schaller, co-founder and Director of Programming for the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet) in Athens, Ohio talks about the role of flash freezing technology in bolstering local food economies. She talks about their flash freezing facility, part of a multi-use kitchen incubator facility in Athens, and how it is used by farmers and entrepreneurs to preserve fresh product. Flash freezing helps to retain more nutrients and flavor and is less intensive than bottling or canning. The facility is also utilized by Casa Nueva, a worker-owned restaurant, to process and preserve foods that provide the base for both canned products or for use in prepared meals at the restaurant.

Bon Appetit Flash Freezing Initiative

This video features some of the enterprising work of Bon Appetit Management Company to invest in building up the infrastrcuture in Northeast Ohio for local food processing. Through a partnership with the Center for Innovative Food Technologies (CIFT) in Toledo, Bon Appetit piloted a flash freezing initiative in 2010. Flash freezing is a processing technology that enables fresh local food to be frozen and available for distribution during the off-season. This type of system is critical to bolstering the local food economy of Northeast Ohio and expanding the availability of locally grown food throughout the year. Bon Appetit goes beyond local food procurement and actually looks at how they can increase their purchases by catalyzing infrastructure for processing, storage, and distribution. The flash frozen food is distributed to their dining accounts at Oberlin College, Case Western Reserve University, and Otterbein College.

ACENet and Value-Chain Organizing

Leslie Schaller with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet) gives a quick overview of organizing local food systems through value-chain development. She talks about how ACENet collaborates with other organizations in southeastern Ohio to provide support for entrepreneurs linked to all nodes along the value chain: marketing, production, processing, distribution, aggregation, and policy. She discusses the importance of facilitating communication linkages between entrepreneurs from different sectors to foster greater collaboration and stronger local economic networks. The network approach means that no one entrepreneur works alone. It also means that individuals can be productive participants in a local food system, regardless of the scale at which they work. For example, some community gardeners gain important growing skills that lead to market farming opportunities down the road.

Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative

Short video capturing some of the innovative activities of the Appalachian Staple Foods Project, an effort to work with local farmers to process and produce staple crops, including flours and dried beans. This film shows one approach for working with networks of local farmers to capture more added value for local crops and job creation opportunities. The video also captures the importance of resilience within our local food systems. A major part of this is re-building the infrastructure for smaller-scale, localized milling and grain and bean production. Filmed at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet) in Athens, Ohio. This project was recently identified by Utne Reader as one of the visionary project of 2010. For more information, see:

Urban and Rural Cooperation

Jim Converse and Pat Rosenthal from Common Wealth in Youngstown describe their efforts to link urban and rural communities through their north-side farmers market and planned food incubator. Converse describes how their farmers market has both re-vitalized the Wick Park neighborhood. The farmers market has brought a variety of rural and urban growers together. The farmers market itself has provided the seed-bed out of which their community food incubator and shared-used kitchen facility grew. Converse and Rosenthal also reflect on how farmers markets and their incubator provide a space where rural and urban populations can gain more mutual respect. A we look to grow our regional food system, fostering quality urban and rural interactions will be critical.

Workforce Food Center Concept

Common Ground Church Pastor Steve Fortenberry, who also serves as the Executive Director of Goodness Grows, describes a Workforce Food Center concept as a way to create economic opportunities while improving workplace health and wellness through improved food access. Steve describes the increasing costs of poor health on the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. workforce. His concept involves working with an existing steel manufacturer to capture waste heat in a greenhouse that produces local food that is distributed to workers through a wellness program. This concept could work well with many manufacturing facilities in Northeast Ohio that can both invest in the wellness of their employees and productively utilize waste heat as a source of heat for extending the growing season. 

Urban Agrarian Commons

We travel to the Stuart's Place near the Wick Park neighborhood area in downtown Youngstown, near the Youngstown State University. Pat Rosenthal, Executive Director and Jim Converse, Community Development Director of Common Wealth, Inc. take us through a recently acquired property. The property includes several upstairs apartments and an old warehouse space and restaurant. Jim and Pat are working on an effort to re-purpose these properties to create a mixed-used facility that includes a food coop, a restaurant, and a community food incubator. The space will serve both urban and rural entrepreneurs, providing an outlet to process and preserve agricultural surplus from rural farmers and to support small enterprises for urban residents. Their vision for the space reveals the importance of connecting the needs of both urban and rural communities. Their space will provide an asset to serve the neighbors in the area while fostering new connections with the broader Mahoning Valley region. Their site also includes an urban demonstration site being developed for education and training by a farmer from Geneva.