Food as Medicine
Often, good food studies and projects are rooted in an organization’s goal to develop initiatives and enterprises that improve the health and wellness of local community members. Projects may be focused on developing innovative strategies to make healthy, local food more accessible and appealing to underserved communities. Proponents may be looking to understand how more nutritious food can be leveraged by healthcare providers and payers to manage and treat medical conditions. Still others are looking to improve the health and wellness of agricultural workers. While the landscape of these projects and their goals are distinct, they share a common vision – how can and should the good food movement help address health inequities and healthcare challenges across our country?
New Venture Advisors structures highly customized project plans to meet our clients’ specific goals and vision. These plans help us identify and develop innovative strategies and enterprises that can bring better food to those with the biggest need for healthy options.
Food as Medicine Projects
The Food Mill Food Infrastructure and Ag Corridor
The Food Mill and its partners are developing a small corridor of food-focused facilities and properties along the 2nd Avenue corridor in downtown Columbus. The focus of these projects is to enable the expansion of food-access and agricultural programming (which they currently operate) into a diversified network of food enterprises including medically tailored meals, a shared kitchen, an incubator program, increased agricultural growing and community growing sites, food truck and food retail vending spaces, and outdoor recreation spaces. New Venture Advisors has supported the Food Mill in developing market space and operations since the expansion of their original facility in 2021, and is currently assisting The Food Mill in defining the concept for this collaboration, its partnerships, operating model, and facilities design through a phased development process funded by a 2021 Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant. The Food Mill is working collaboratively in Columbus with key partners like Open Door Community House, Mercy Medical, and others to support this ambitious development project. (2023)
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)
Kōkua Kalihi Valley Strategic Plan
Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV) is a community health center created in 1972 to meet the local region’s need for proper health care. KKV’s mission is to “work toward healing, reconciliation and the alleviation of suffering in Kalihi Valley through strong relationships that honor culture and foster health and harmony.” The ROOTS Program of KKV supports this mission with a variety of programs that provide direct assistance, training, education, and connection through growing, preparing, and sharing food as a community. New Venture Advisors developed a strategic plan to clarify the operating structure and financial performance of the programs and enterprises within the ROOTS Program today and to provide a roadmap for the future. (2019)
Kansas Statewide Food Distribution Study
The Sunflower Foundation: Health Care for Kansans directs resources toward helping Kansans and Kansas communities achieve and maintain optimal health. Access to fresh food in the many rural communities across the state is of chief concern as rural grocery stores continue to close at an alarming rate. Together with the Rural Grocery Initiative at K-State, Sunflower and NVA assessed the food distribution landscape in Kansas to propose innovative, alternative strategies that will provide critical support to rural grocery stores throughout the state of Kansas. (2018)
Project Angel Heart Social Enterprise
Project Angel Heart (PAH) delivers medically modified meals to improve quality of life, at no cost, for those coping with life-threatening illnesses. New Venture Advisors worked with PAH to develop a Business Plan for a Community Partners Program through which the organization would contract with hospitals to provide meals to patients upon discharge. The program would serve as a new revenue stream for the organization and would help providers align with new requirements and incentives emerging from the Affordable Care Act. The program launched in 2016. (2016)
Kane County Health Equity Planning
Kane County, IL
In partnership with Kane County Planning, New Venture Advisors conducted a Feasibility Study to assess and develop a food hub serving the greater Chicago foodshed. This study grew out of Kane County’s Health Impact Assessment, and has a specific focus on improving health equity across Kane County. Through a dedicated Health Equity phase of work, New Venture Advisors identified unique business model components that ensure the hub’s products will reach Kane County institutions and low-income residents. (2017)
The Food Trust Small Store Study
New Venture Advisors assisted The Food Trust in conducting a national scan of distribution networks that serve small stores such as corner stores, bodegas, convenience stores, fuel-based retail and rural grocers. The project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined the supply chain that moves food from production to the point of consumption to better understand the barriers in bringing fresher and more nutritious foods to small stores. (2016) See the full report here.