Community Food Centers
The evolution of food system planning has expanded from developing food hubs that aggregate local food and distribute it to local outlets, to building food processing capacity, shared kitchens, grocery stores, and many other types of businesses that form the hard infrastructure of regional food systems. Today, we’re seeing the combination of these enterprises into exciting new developments called Community Food Centers — or sometimes called local food campuses, food business districts, food & agricultural enterprise centers, etc.
Community Food Centers incorporate multiple types of food enterprises, each with a distinct, dedicated space, to enjoy enterprise-level benefits from naturally-occurring synergies and offer benefits to the community. New Venture Advisors has helped to design a wide range of food centers in terms of size, capacities and components which can include a food hub, shared kitchen, food incubator, value added processing, cafe, event space, and community programs (to name a few). We help clients shape their vision for a food center and design them in a way that meets their goals and the needs of stakeholders, whether they be farmers, food entrepreneurs or community members.
Learn more about Community Food Centers on our blog.
Community Food Center Projects
Learn how we have helped our clients develop Community Food Centers:
Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study
The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission wants to support business diversification and growth in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia through value-added products and the delivery of agricultural goods and products to new markets. An Agricultural Enterprise Center has the potential to significantly accelerate this growth. This multi-use facility is intended to help growers and producers expand their market area, bridge the market gap, and pool together products to meet market demands. New Venture Advisors is completing a feasibility study to determine the size, scale and location of the Ag Enterprise Center, the components to be included, and the economic benefits for the region. (2021)
The Food Mill Operating Model
The Food Mill will become a multifunctional food farmacy to help eliminate barriers and solve issues that lead to food insecurity in Columbus, GA. Operating from the kitchen of a local restaurant and catering business, The Food Mill will offer healthy prepared meals made with locally sourced ingredients to families that are food insecure. In partnership with MercyMed Columbus, a nonprofit healthcare clinic that is located right next door, The Food Mill will also offer medically tailored meals to give patients with diet-related diseases access to proper nutrition for their specific illness. The Food Mill will also invite neighborhood entrepreneurs to build their food businesses in its shared kitchen. New Venture Advisors is developing a plan that unifies these businesses under one operating model and expands the retail footprint through a mobile market that will bring prepared meals and fresh grocery items to Columbus Housing Authority locations. (2021)
Whatcom Local Food Campus
The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF was exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a school district commissary. The goal was to strengthen Whatcom County’s local food system, by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. NVA developed the business case for this ambitious project. (2021)
Food System Planning for the Waukegan Food Ecosphere
The Adelante Center for Entrepreneurship exists to create wealth in communities with economic challenges through entrepreneurship, community development, and living wage job creation. A cluster of food initiatives has been identified to be among the first projects undertaken at Adelante: a food hall, a kitchen incubator, and an urban farm with a fresh market and café. Pre-development work for this ambitious set of projects is underway. New Venture Advisors is conducting a market study of the Waukegan trading area to provide a broad picture of the community’s composition and needs within the food system. (2021)
East End Food Hub
Since 2010, East End Food Institute has supported, promoted, and advocated for the farmers, vintners, fishermen, and other food producers and providers on the East End of Long Island. Since New Venture Advisors completed a food hub feasibility study in 2015, the organization has operated a cafe, workshop space, commercial kitchen, and processing space at Stony Brook University while building the foundation for a more integrated food system. New Venture Advisors is now assisting the Institute in establishing the East End Food Hub as a centralized point of aggregation, processing, and distribution for produce and products from regional farms and food businesses. (2020)
Wood County Community Food Center
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
This central Wisconsin community has organized a group of stakeholders representing public health, hunger relief, agriculture, public schools, academia and more to explore the feasibility of a Community Food Center. They see the need to create efficiencies between hunger and health organizations, increase accessibility of local foods to visitors and residents, support local farmers and entrepreneurs, and create an environment that eliminates hunger stigma and enhances workforce skill training and development. NVA is helping the health department and its partners in determining a sustainable business model for a Community Food Center that incorporates a hunger relief food pantry and hot meal site, and revenue generation through local food aggregation, processing, and distribution. (2020)
Oneida Community Food Center Feasibility Study
The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is a federally recognized tribe of Oneida people, with a reservation located on 65,000 acres on the west side of the Green Bay metropolitan area. The tribe works to offer programs, services, and resources that enable the community to carry on with the strength and determination of its ancestors. The Food Center is a new initiative that would teach people how to process and prepare nutritious meals and traditional Oneida foods, serving not only Oneida Nation members, but also entrepreneurs and job seekers in the food industry. New Venture Advisors investigated the feasibility of this commercial and community-use, regional, and intertribal food training center. (2018)