A Feasibility Study is the most important step in new venture development. It reduces startup risk by testing the viability of the business concept before significant resources are committed.
If the Food Systems Assessment phase of work uncovers an opportunity for a new food hub or related business to address a need within the food landscape, we then conduct an extensive Feasibility Study to further shape the business model and test its viability. This step includes interviewing and surveying all relevant players across the local food supply chain, assessing existing local infrastructure, and evaluating potential operating models and ownership structures.
In a for-profit context, the viability of the Feasibility Study is driven by financial models that analyze the potential for the business to earn a satisfactory profit for owners and investors based on a set of reasonable assumptions.
In a nonprofit context, the viability is defined by the client team, and might include the potential of the venture to:
- increase local produce supply in the market
- convert commodity crop acreage to specialty crop acreage
- improve health indicators as a result of increased access to fresh produce
- have positive rural and urban economic impact
- be financially self-sustaining in the long-term
The specific assumptions behind these factors are derived from primary and secondary research, often making use of available data from analogous operations.
Feasibility Study Projects
Learn how we have helped our clients with Feasibility Studies below.
Rural Grocery Food Hub Assessment
The North Central Regional Planning Commission of Kansas spearheaded a study to support rural growers, consumers and grocery stores in North Central Kansas. Its vision was to assist rural grocery stores in establishing a local food hub within their operation to bring them additional revenue, provide new sources of revenue for local producers, and bring more local agricultural products into the community. NVA led the study, which began with grocery store owners conducting self-assessments using NVA’s Rural Grocery HubSizer® tool. (2017)
Southern Wisconsin Food Hub Feasibility Study
This study led by Dane County Planning and Development explored the feasibility of creating an aggregation and distribution facility in southern Wisconsin serving customers in Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. The report is an excellent example of a public entity creating a strategic foundation from which a public or private interest may continue business development. Read the report here. (2011)
New London County Food Hub Feasibility Study
New London, CT
This study led by United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and the New London County Food Policy Council assessed the food landscape in the region to determine the optimal operation model for a food hub in the county and the financial viability of this potential hub. The study resulted in a decision to move forward with a nonprofit, services-focused food hub whose aim is to support growers in expanding production. (2015)
Greater Kansas City Food Hub
Kansas City, KS
A coalition of individuals and organizations worked towards the establishment of a local food hub to aggregate and distribute local produce in the Kansas City region. NVA completed the feasibility study in 2014 and the food hub launched as Fresh Farm HQ in 2016.