10 Books That Inspired Us This Year

We, like everyone, now read most of our news, research, opinions and ideas online—through articles, blogs, social media posts, and digital debates. But we find that reading a good old fashioned book (yes, even when it’s read on a tablet!) is when we truly become... read more

Immersive Roadmapping: A Tune-Up for Small Businesses

Last month, New Venture Advisors had the opportunity to coach twelve fellows of the Good Food Business Accelerator for a full day session. What an incredible program and inspiring group of entrepreneurs! The Good Food Business Accelerator gets farm and food businesses... read more

When to Leap and When to Learn

December…while it is, first and foremost, a time for us to be with our friends and family, be thankful, take out our mittens and hats, and celebrate the season – it is also the time for reflection and planning. This may sound boring to some people, but we tend to geek... read more

Rural Grocery Food Hubs: Our Findings, the Future and a Widget

A lot has happened since we first explored the idea of a rural grocery store housing a local food hub, almost two years ago! The concept is one we continue to be excited about and see tremendous potential in. A quick refresher: Independent rural grocery stores are... read more

Kitchen incubators: is there a recipe for success?

Ten years ago, the kitchen incubator was a novel concept. Since then, the food landscape has evolved pretty dramatically. We are now flooded with artisan products (or specialty, local, small batch – insert your favorite food movement here!) and have unparalleled... read more

Frozen Local is Heating Up: Is it Worth It? Part II

We’re reporting back with operator perspectives in hand…and the answer is (drumroll please): it depends. As you probably expected! Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of moderating an incredibly insightful panel discussion at the National Good Food Network 2016... read more

Frozen Local is Heating Up: Is it Worth It? Part I

More and more, food hubs are wondering if they should build frozen processing capabilities. At first review, it seems like a solution to so many challenges in the local food system. Growers struggle when their key crops are ready for sale at the same time as other... read more

Risky Business: Good Food in Small Stores

Access to healthy, fresh and affordable food is unfortunately not a given in all parts of the globe, nor in the U.S. Improving food access is a founding tenet of the good food movement, and today there are many national, regional and local organizations with missions... read more

The Role of Food Hubs in Food Access

In January Wholesome Wave hosted the Transforming Food Access Summit in Atlanta. We attended the conference to co-host a session with Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a food hub in Providence that is having tremendous impact on community health. Our panel explored the... read more

3 Trends Shaping 2016

As the year comes to a close, many of us are reflecting on the year behind and making plans for the year ahead. I always find it inspiring when the NVA team meets to talk about how we’re doing, what we’re learning and the trends we’re observing. We use these insights... read more

4 Ways Interviews Can Help Develop Regional Food Systems

The word interview typically brings to mind a discussion for the purposes of hiring, or a type of conversation that journalists have in order to write an article. Interviews are not often regarded as a tool for the development of business strategy. Yet the act of... read more

Food Hub Networks: the Local Food Movement’s Future?

One thing I love about working in local food, and with food hubs in particular, is how the space is ever evolving. Planning organizations and current or aspiring food hub operators are constantly evaluating the business model – identifying opportunities to better... read more

The Importance of Community

Two weeks ago the Good Food Business Accelerator kicked off its second year. The GFBA is a fellows program that assists Midwest farms and food entrepreneurs with mentoring, training, sales support and financing to launch and grow their businesses. I worked with... read more

9 Trends in Food Hub Planning

After two years working with incredible, diverse and passionate local project teams on dozens of food system assessments, I always get excited when we start a new project. We have no preconceived ideas about the local food landscape or the direction we think a food... read more

Local Food – A Solution for Vacant Buildings?

Traditionally, New Venture Advisors’ projects have been catalyzed by an individual or group passionate about strengthening their local food system. These community leaders often believe that market-based solutions might be the answer, and look to food hubs or... read more

Positioning Statements: How a Carrot is More Than a Carrot

Earlier this month I spent a week in New England conducting sales and marketing trainings for the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program and the Carrot Project. They invited educators to offer trainings on finance, marketing and management to individuals that... read more

Anatomy of a Positioning Statement

In an earlier blog post titled “Positioning statements: how a carrot is more than a carrot” I described how a business identifies itself to its customer vis-à-vis the competition through a positioning statement, and how a well-crafted positioning statement can help an... read more

Let’s Get Feasible: 6 Exercises for a Great Feasibility Study

The term “feasibility study” seems to elicit a wide range of reactions ranging from skepticism to exhaustion to excitement. Where along this spectrum someone falls can often depend on the structure and execution of a study, as well as the initial motivation of the... read more

4 Keys to Persuasive Business Plans (Part 2)

As mentioned in Part 1 of this post, these four aspects of a business plan can be the most compelling if well researched and presented: Value Proposition: a strong problem/solution statement Addressable Market: a realistic estimate of the size of your market Sales... read more

4 Keys to Persuasive Business Plans (Part 1)

I was recently a panelist in a breakout session about financing food hubs. My segment was on the importance of business planning in effectively raising money. With only 15 minutes for prepared remarks, I wondered how to distill into a few key points all of the... read more