Feasibility Study

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.

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New Venture Advisors is a team of business consultants specializing in local food system planning and new enterprise development.

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Feasibility Study Projects

Learn how we have helped our clients with Feasibility Studies below.

Santa Clara County Community Food Hub Feasibility Study

San Jose, CA

Veggielution has provided community-centered programming at Emma Prusch Farm Park since 2008, with a special emphasis on fostering community and family engagement in the diverse, low-income, working immigrant neighborhood of Mayfair in East San José. The community farm  and farmstand is on a 6 acre site where they offer education programs, community engagement activities, support for mobile- and home-based entrepreneurs, and food box distribution and delivery. New Venture Advisors is helping Veggielution assess the feasibility of opening a food hub and determining the location, operating model and components that could best serve the diverse groups of food entrepreneurs and farmers in the region surrounding San José. (2023)

RG Foods Food Hub Collaborative Feasibility Study

Tulsa, OK

RG Foods enhances the health of northeast Oklahoma through food-based community revitalization, providing expanded access to fresh, quality foods in the Tulsa area. The organization runs mobile and micro grocery stores to actively combat food deserts, and there are many other agencies, organizations and independent grocers across the region devoted to increasing retail food access, whose programs and enterprises can be strengthened through collaboration. RG Foods is spearheading a food hub cooperative to facilitate this collaboration. A jointly owned and operated warehouse would enable group purchasing and coordinated warehousing, distribution, deliveries and backhauls across the regional food system. New Venture Advisors will be conducting a feasibility study to evaluate the potential for this food hub cooperative and design a facility to meet the needs of its future members and the stakeholders they serve. (2023)

The Food Mill Food Innovation Campus

Columbus, GA

The Food Mill and its partners are developing a food innovation campus that will enable the expansion of their many programs into a diversified network of food enterprises including medically tailored meals, a shared kitchen, an incubator program, a vertical growing facility, and more. New Venture Advisors is 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. (2023)

California Indian Traditional Food Incubator Feasibility Study

Santa Rosa, CA

The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center (CIMCC) educates the public about the history, cultures, and contemporary life of California Indians and honors their contributions to civilization. Since 2015, CIMCC has offered training and technical assistance programs to serve the culturally specific foodways knowledge, skills and business development needs of traditional food producers. Now it is exploring a kitchen incubator at CIMCC to provide production facilities and support for American Indian/Alaska Native traditional food producers in Sonoma County. New Venture Advisors is assisting with the feasibility study and management plan. (2023)

Roaring Fork Valley Regional Food Facilities Feasibility & Design

Basalt, CO

In 2008, Pitkin County purchased and renovated two historic buildings that were once used to store and distribute food. They are beloved by the community, and there is strong interest in examining the feasibility of returning them to use as a food access hub serving agricultural producers and other community needs. The County is collaborating with LIFT-UP food banks and Aspen Community Foundation to evaluate how these buildings could be repurposed, along with other facilities in the Aspen area, to provide a more comprehensive food system infrastructure supporting hunger relief, agricultural production, food entrepreneurship, economic development, and space for the community to come together over food. New Venture Advisors is leading a study to design a regional food infrastructure strategy that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community. (2023)

Food Bank Collaboration for Northern Michigan

Flint, MI

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and Feeding America West Michigan teamed  up to explore the feasibility of a shared warehouse and resource center to increase distribution through their nonprofit partner agencies in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Both food banks are challenged to navigate logistical challenges and the high cost of procuring and shipping food across the span of rural, northern counties of Michigan.  Seeking to address hunger in every community, the joint project also looked  to increase the number and depth of relationships with local agricultural producers to provide a variety of nutritious, fresh products to neighbors facing hunger.  By exploring additional warehousing and distribution capabilities in the state’s northern region, the food banks worked with NVA to seek out potential solutions to address the gaps in service that contribute to the high food insecurity rates in these remote geographies. New Venture Advisors examined the impact that a jointly-operated facility might have in improving service to these northernmost counties and developed a business model to explore its optimal location and project model for the partners. (2023)

Food Bank Council of Michigan Senior Food Access Pilot Program

Lansing, MI

Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) is the partner state association for the seven Feeding America-affiliated food banks across the state of Michigan. The FBCM’s mission is to create a food secure state through advocacy, resource management, and collaboration among stakeholders and Michigan’s unified food bank network. The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated that many seniors experience barriers to food access because they have limited access to transportation or are located in remote areas. FBCM seeks to create a model whereby food can be home-delivered to Michigan residents regardless of their location through a food box program for seniors including fresh items and shelf-stable groceries. New Venture Advisors is assisting in designing a pilot program in southern Michigan to demonstrate the viability of this model, with food banks serving as distribution hubs and Door Dash Foundation providing the last-mile delivery partner. (2023)

NMU Food Hub Feasibility Study

Marquette, MI

The Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health and several project partners aspire to create a shared use aggregation, distribution, and light produce processing facility serving Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.). There is currently limited food system infrastructure in the U.P.; therefore, most food consumed in the region is dependent upon transport from Lower Michigan and Wisconsin. The facility would increase the resiliency of the U.P. food system and support the health and wellness of residents by increasing sales and accessibility of locally-grown and value-added foods, and decreasing costs to do so through charitable distribution networks. New Venture Advisors conducted an expanded feasibility study that explored whether a collaborative aggregation and distribution system network across the U.P. and a central warehouse facility could support solutions to existing system stressors and could be economically viable for the participating organizations. (2022) 

Grocery Store Feasibility Study

Crow Agency, MT

The Crow Indian Reservation in Crow Agency, Montana has been without a nearby source for food since the local grocery store burned down a few years ago. A member of the tribe intends to rebuild and expand the concept into a cooperative or hybrid format with a grow house, butcher shop, bakery and other staple items. Plenty Doors Community Development Corporation has engaged New Venture Advisors to conduct a feasibility study for a grocery store to be located on the Reservation. Based on these findings, the study will evaluate other aspects of the owner’s concept as well as alternative formats like those appearing around the country as rural communities invent new pathways to food security. (2023)

Community Health Education & Food Center Feasibility Study

DeKalb County, IL

Through a novel partnership led by DeKalb County Community Gardens and land provided by Northern Illinois University, a new community center will be developed that will foster well-being through food, healthcare, social services, and connections. The Community Health Education & Food Center (CHEF) will be the first of its kind in Northern Illinois. The 3-acre campus will feature commercial spaces including a farm, food hub, kitchen, market and cafe, as well as programming promoting food access, nutrition education, civic engagement and social services. New Venture Advisors is evaluating the operating model and economics of the commercial spaces to determine revenue and volume targets needed to sustain the overall operation. (2023)

Barry County Blue Zones Initiative: Community Food Center Feasibility Study

Hastings, MI

Blue Zones Activate Barry County is part of the global movement that has improved health and well being for entire communities and cities. Barry Community Foundation has joined in the effort to make Barry County a healthier place to live, work, grow up, and grow old. The community recently prioritized changes it would like to see in the food environment with a majority of community members assembled at a summit voting for a food center and opportunities to prioritize health and nutrition education. Other ideas included a location for a year round farmers market and a kitchen incubator. Local leaders see an opportunity to integrate these programs into a Community Food Center, and have identified promising potential sites in Hastings, MI in partnership with local organizations. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study to determine if the proposed combination of components is viable, the best mix of food programs and enterprises to meet community aims, and the potential of various locations to serve as the site partner. (2023)

King County Food Hub Conceptual Site Design and Feasibility Study

Kent, WA

King County along with its community partners pursue methods to strengthen local food systems, empower residents to start new businesses, and thereby increase access to healthy, affordable food for underserved communities. These efforts hit a major milestone in 2014, when King County adopted the Local Food Initiative—a roadmap for reinforcing and enhancing local food systems across the King County region. During and since that time, several needs assessments and market evaluations have been conducted related to the local food system infrastructure. These studies have analyzed the pressure points and gaps in private market facilities and the benefits of a consolidated local food facility. New Venture Advisors helped to build upon these past efforts by working with potential operating partners to refine the operating model, facility plan and conceptual site design for a local food hub and evaluated its cost and financial sustainability. (2023)

Miko Meats Food Facility Feasibility and Design

Hilo, HI

Miko Meats is part of a multipartner collaboration to transform Hawai’i County’s agricultural value chain by enhancing its capacity to sustainably produce, aggregate, process, store, market and distribute local staple crops – while strengthening the social infrastructure that enables effective cooperation between farmers and with other value chain stakeholders. It owns a former meat processing facility equipped for smoking, cutting, and with cold storage – processing capacity that could be repurposed to resolve aggregation and processing bottlenecks and for agricultural business development. New Venture Advisors is conducting a feasibility study to identify potential partnerships, operating models, technical viability and actionable pathways for revitalization of this vastly underutilized regional asset in catalyzing the Hawai’i island food system. (2022)

Bushel & Peck Food Hub Feasibility Study

Charles Town, WV

Jefferson G.A.P. Coalition launched Bushel & Peck in 2017 to provide better access to healthy foods for all people in Jefferson County, to boost the farm and food economy, and to drive downtown revitalization in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. The store is successful and sustainable with a solid customer base. It plays a critical role in supplying healthy foods to local families during the pandemic, and the Coalition sees the potential to reach an even larger customer base by expanding beyond its retail business into wholesale, serving institutional customers, restaurants and other grocery chains with fresh produce sourced from across the region. New Venture Advisors is exploring the viability of occupying vacant and under-utilized downtown buildings and lots to site food enterprises that may include indoor and outdoor food markets, community gardens, bulk food distribution, and a commercial kitchen, based on the needs identified and prioritized by the community. (2023)

The Food Basket Community Food Center

Hilo, HI

The Food Basket (TFB) is Hawai`i Island’s food bank. Increasing demand for the services TFB provides the residents of Hawai`i County is beyond the capacity of its Hilo facility. A new food bank warehouse/community food center in East Hawai`i with the capacity to meet the increased food needs for Hawai`i Island residents has the potential to dramatically improve food access for low-income residents, increase resilience and disaster preparedness, and provide food security for Hawai`i Island. New Venture Advisors will help design this new facility to help accommodate TFB’s growth with added features that will enable TFB to offer new programs and services to the community. (2023)

Eastern Market Processing and Distribution Expansion Study

Detroit, MI

Eastern Market has been a working food district for 130 years. The market campus is a network of sheds and flexible spaces that support retail and wholesale operations, programming, parking, and community events. Eastern Market Partnership, the managing nonprofit, has been planning with the City of Detroit for several years to expand the Market. Food processing, warehousing and distribution businesses will relocate to adjacent sites in two new food safety compliant facilities, opening space for retail and public events on the main campus.  New Venture Advisors  conducted a feasibility study for the proposed expansion and designed the facilities to meet the needs of the diverse stakeholders who make up the Market ecosystem. (2022)

Business Impact NW

Seattle, WA

Business Impact NW (BIN) was presented the opportunity to take over and operate a shared kitchen space in Woodinville, WA as a food and farm incubation program. The program would focus on helping businesses develop, test, and launch value-added consumer packaged products sourced locally. To ensure this program has community and financial support, BIN entered a 90-day due diligence period before entering into an agreement with the owner. The organization engaged New Venture Advisors to conduct rapid operating, facility and financial feasibility analysis, and provide guidance on lease negotiations. (2022)

McHenry County College Food Hub

Crystal Lake, IL

The Center for Agrarian Learning (CAL) at McHenry County College offers a non-credit community education in farm viability, an Entrepreneurial Agriculture degree program, and operates a greenhouse and farm as part of its programming. CAL has a vision for adding a food hub to aggregate products grown on campus and from area farms to create a year-round sales channel for local producers looking to increase production or venture into wholesale markets. The program will be one of the few campus-based food hubs in the U.S., training the next generation of food system professionals with real-world experience from production to wholesale, and potentially retail. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study to determine how this college-based food hub can serve small-to medium sized producers in the region. (2022)

Oneida Nation Meat Processing Facility

Oneida, WI

The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin had worked for decades to build an interconnected food system founded on the principles of food sovereignty and food security. The pandemic shed a glaring light on how critical this effort continues to be for the Nation and its community, particularly how reliance on any external entities takes away its ability to feed its own people. Currently the Nation does not control the processing of animals on a large scale. This has brought forth a new initiative by the Nation to assess ways they can take back household and internal organizational processing of their protein sources. One of these opportunities is the possibility of a Nation owned and operated meat processing facility. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study for building this facility that would allow Oneida Nation to close this gap in its food system. (2022)

God’s Pantry Food Warehouse

Lexington, KY

God’s Pantry Food Bank serves 50 counties in central and eastern Kentucky in partnership with more than 450 food pantries and meal programs. In 2020 God’s Pantry delivered over 40 million pounds of food from its central warehouse and three regional distribution centers. A fourth is planned in partnership with Warehouses4Good that will add storage and distribution capacity for the food bank, and provide a public warehouse for anchor tenants that could operate in any capacity across the food value chain. New Venture Advisors engaged regional stakeholders, developed an operating model that responded to their needs, programmed the facility according to their requirements, and outlined a strategy for securing their participation. (2022)

CLiCK Expansion Feasibility Study

Windham, CT

CLiCK, Inc. (Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen) is a non-profit commercial kitchen that provides affordable space for lower income and minority residents to incubate food-related businesses and offers gardening, culinary, and nutrition classes. Its kitchen members range from well-established year-round businesses to farmers market and food truck vendors to those who are just beginning on the certifications required to establish their businesses. The number of food businesses utilizing CLiCK’s facility has grown steadily. Renovations and expansion are needed in order to continue to meet the needs of its existing members and allow for further growth in membership. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study and designed a multi-phase concept plan for the proposed expansion of this shared-use commercial kitchen and its likely economic impacts on Windham and the surrounding region. (2022)

Warehouses4Good Mississippi Delta Food Warehouse

Moorhead, MS

Warehouses4Good is a non-profit organization building a national network of one hundred food warehouses serving rural America, increasing the capacity and integrity of our food value chain. A USDA Rural Business Development Grant was awarded to develop one of its first facilities located in the South Delta region. It will be constructed within an existing building owned by a non-profit organization, housing dry and cold storage, value-added processing, and space for food-related agencies and organizations. The warehouse will strengthen the local food supply chain, support food distributors and small grocers, and geographically expand market opportunities for small farmers and food manufacturing businesses in a seven-county area. New Venture Advisors conducted a commercial assessment to determine the operating model and building program that will meet their requirements. (2022)

North Central Massachusetts Food Campus Feasibility Study

Winchendon, MA

Central Mass Grown and Growing Places are leading an initiative with the North Central Massachusetts (NCMA) Food System Partnership to improve the health and quality of life for residents in the region with a proposed food center processing site. The proposed facility will support local businesses and producers by offering expanded aggregation, distribution, and processing capabilities into the NCMA food system. The facility will also benefit regional residents by increasing local, fresh foods in the local value chain. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study to verify the infrastructure investments the region needs to grow its local food system, the components that could be most beneficial and viable as part of a food hub or related facility, and wrote a business plan for a processing facility that will act as a central hub in the regional food system and support coordinated activities onsite and across the region. (2023)

Oneida Community Cannery

Oneida, WI

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 Oneida Community Cannery is a new initiative that will teach people how to process and prepare nutritious meals and traditional Oneida foods, serving not only Oneida Nation members, but also entrepreneurs in the food industry. In 2018 New Venture Advisors investigated the feasibility of this commercial and community-use, regional, and intertribal food production center, and in 2022 completed a business plan as the tribe prepares for launch. (2022)

Spartanburg Community Food Center Feasibility Study

Spartanburg, SC

Spartanburg Food System Coalition is an initiative of Partners for Active Living, a nonprofit organization that advances active living, promotes healthy eating and fosters health equity in Spartanburg County. The main goals of the Coalition are to create greater access to healthy food and to strengthen the local food system. Its diverse members represent business, academia, government, health care and NGOs focused on healthy eating and community improvement. In 2020, the Coalition completed a food system assessment and plan that pointed to the development of a Community Food Center where many of the recommended initiatives could be located under one roof. NVA has completed a preliminary assessment of the community’s needs and recommended continued pathways for building community engagement and navigating the development of an operational model. (2021)

Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study

Staunton, VA

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 completed 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)  Read the report here.

Damian’s Craft Meats Feasibility Study

Ann Arbor, MI

For six years, Damian’s Craft Meats has been exploring the viability of developing a slaughterhouse and meat processing business that reflects the founders’ deep connection to and understanding of where good food comes from, and their respect for living animals. Moreover, and especially due to the disruption of the meat industry caused by the pandemic, they see an opportunity to reverse patterns of inequality, consolidation, and disinvestment in order to advance an equitable food system and expand the local meat value chain in southeast Michigan. NVA conducted a comprehensive feasibility study of the market, business model and facility plan and developed a business plan for their facility development project. The purpose of this project is to bolster the growth of the region’s meat sector through community collaboration and planning to better support the processing, aggregation, storage, and distribution of locally and regionally produced meat products. (2021)

Rural Grocery Food Hub Assessment

Beloit, KS

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)

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 operating 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. Read the report here. (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. (2014)

Southern Wisconsin Food Hub Feasibility Study

Madison, WI

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)

 Whatcom County Food System Plan

The Whatcom County Food System Committee recently conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors will partner with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan will focus on six sectors of the food system including fishing, farming, labor, food access, environment, and waste, and will be informed by an inclusive and equitable community engagement process.  The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2023)

 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 is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a collaborative production kitchen benefitting food access, school system, and community organizations. The goal is strengthening 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 and continues to support its development through engagement and operational development. (2023)