New Venture Advisors has published a number of reports and resources for public consumption to support advocates of local food system development across the country.
These publications represent the spectrum of our services from opportunity identification frameworks to feasibility study examples and guidelines for developing business plans and fundraising. They comprise a variety of food enterprise categories in alignment with our expertise.
We invite you to download our publications below.
Healthy Corner Store Initiative Program Design
The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County conducted a food system planning process led by New Venture Advisors (NVA) from 2020-2021. The community-driven City of Wichita/Sedgwick County Food System Master Plan recommended utilizing a variety of tools to increase access to healthy food. In particular, there was strong support for partnering with existing food businesses to improve access to healthy food in Wichita’s food desert neighborhoods. Therefore, the City of Wichita allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to create a Healthy Corner Store Initiative for the city of Wichita. To support this initiative, NVA partnered with The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that has pioneered healthy corner store and “small store” programs throughout the country. Together, NVA and The Food Trust designed a Healthy Corner Store Initiative Pilot Program, developed a draft program budget, and participated in the city’s RFP process to identify an implementing organization. Download plan here
Community Gardens in City Parks Plan
The City of Cedar Rapids undertook an exciting community-driven planning process to establish a Community Gardens in City Parks Plan. The plan outlines a pathway to creating a vibrant network of community gardens across the city, significantly increasing access to garden plots for residents. This effort came in response to interest voiced by the community in expanding healthy food access efforts as the #1 community priority to support climate action locally. The City is committed to expanding community gardens to more city-owned parks with a focus on access for residents who are under-resourced and under-represented. New Venture Advisors, in partnership with Wheat Design Group, developed a garden amenities toolkit, concept plans for eight parks, and a management plan for the City to oversee the community gardens. Download plan here
City of Manchester Healthy Food Access Plan
The Manchester Health Department and the Manchester Food Collaborative embarked on a community-driven planning process to develop a Healthy Food Access Plan for Manchester. The Plan identified programs and policies to address food insecurity and increase access to healthy food across the city. New Venture Advisors assisted the project partners in creating an inclusive process for community engagement, prioritizing objectives and strategies, and created the final plan. Download plan here
Whatcom County Food System Plan
In 2021, the Whatcom County Food System Committee conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors partnered with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan focuses on five key goals for building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient food system, and was informed by an inclusive 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. Download plan here
Geary County Food System Plan
Live Well Geary County Food Policy Council completed a Food System Plan to provide a 10 year guide for the development of their community’s food system. This planning process provided a comprehensive approach to food system efforts – by identifying policy solutions that influence how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. The Plan was unanimously adopted by the Junction City Commission and the Geary County Commission in July of 2022. New Venture Advisors provided strategic direction and technical assistance to them and their local planning partners in the development of this plan, supported the adoption process, and is supporting early stage Plan implementation efforts. Download plan here
Norton County REGIONAL Food System Assessment
Norton Regional Health Foundation is the 501(c)(3) fiduciary agent for Live Well Norton, a volunteer-driven coalition that works to improve the health and quality of life for residents in Norton County. The coalition is working to build a vibrant local food system to improve access to healthy foods in this rural county. New Venture Advisors conducted a food system assessment for Norton County, to help them identify key opportunities to grow their local food system. NVA also provided facilitation of community meetings to help them interpret the assessment data and potentially lay the groundwork for a food system plan for the community. (2022) Download report here
Food System Master Plan: Riley County & the City of Manhattan, KANSAS
The Food and Farm Council of Riley County and City of Manhattan, KS partnered with New Venture Advisors to complete a Food System Master Plan that would guide the development of a dynamic and sustainable community food system. This was a comprehensive approach to identify policy solutions that influenced how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. NVA and the Food and Farm Council engaged community members and food system stakeholders to inform goals and action steps, and the finished Plan was adopted by the governing bodies of the City of Manhattan and Riley County. The planning project was funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ Pathways to a Healthy Kansas community grant program. Download plan here
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 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. Download report here
City of Wichita Food System Master Plan
The Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita’s Food Policy Committee is developing, connecting and building a local food environment that creates a sustainable food system to serve the needs of producers, suppliers and consumers. The Coalition is composed of numerous organizations including the Greater Wichita YMCA which serves as fiduciary for the Coalition. By partnering with the City of Wichita to create a 10-year Food System Master Plan, they are guiding the development of community food assets in Wichita, Kansas. A Food System Master Plan process is an opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to food systems efforts – identifying policy solutions that influence how food is produced, processed, distributed, stored, transported, purchased and consumed. New Venture Advisors provided technical assistance, guided the collaborative planning process, and authored the master plan. Download plan here
Linn County Food System Assessment
In 2020, The Linn County Food Systems Council had ambitious goals to improve Linn County’s food system from production to consumption. They focused on increasing access to and consumption of nutritious foods by boosting the volume and diversity of food produced within the county. The first step toward accomplishing this goal was to complete a comprehensive baseline food system assessment. New Venture Advisors worked with the Council to assess four factors that are foundational to food system development: production, procurement, processing, and barriers to entry and expansion of businesses working within the food system. Download report here
Faith in Place Community Kitchen Incubator Initiative
The need for certified kitchen space for farmers to use for value-addition, or to incubate new food businesses, is widespread. Repurposing existing assets rather than building new ones is a tenet of our work, and Faith in Place landed on a brilliant strategy: use what is likely the most widely distributed asset base of kitchens in rural areas—houses of worship—as shared kitchens. Together with Open Door Advisors, New Venture Advisors helped them create a starter guide and will provide coaching for leaders of churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues to evaluate the opportunity in the months ahead. Download guide here
Kane County Food Hub Feasibility Study
In 2015, the Kane County Development and Community Services Department began working with New Venture Advisors on an in-depth feasibility study for an innovative food hub in Kane County, located about 90 minutes northwest of Chicago. The study was recommended by the county’s 2013 Health Impact Assessment, Growing for Kane. The objectives of a potential food hub were to improve healthy food access across Kane County while simultaneously enabling farmers to access new markets and expand their operations. The study was organized into three distinct phases–Market Assessment, Health Equity Strategies, and Business and Economic Analysis. The county board approved the food hub for development in 2016, after which an operator was selected through a formal search process. The food hub launched pilot operations in early 2018.
How Might a Food Hub Operating Within a Grocery Store Benefit Rural Communities?
In September 2015, New Venture Advisors began working with rural grocery stores in Kansas, Iowa and Michigan to explore converting them into food hubs as a means of preserving these vital community assets. NVA conducted a preliminary feasibility assessment of establishing a hub in identified stores, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, GNB Bank, and with funding from the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant and Local Food Promotion Program. We are excited to share the final report that emerged from this work.
Healthy Food and Small Stores: Strategies to Close the Distribution Gap in Underserved Communities
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.
Michigan Food Hub IT Platform Feasibility Study Public Summary
The Michigan Food Hub Network’s overarching goal is to build the capacity of Michigan food hubs and the partners that assist them so the hubs can better supply healthy food to underserved markets in the state. New Venture Advisors worked with the Network to conduct a feasibility study assessing the need, function, ownership structure, and start-up and maintenance costs of a potential statewide IT platform that would lead to improved performance and more seamless communication and transactions across all Michigan food hubs.
New London County Food Hub Feasibility Study (public version)
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.
Opportunities with Food Partners to Reuse Closed Chicago Public Schools (public version)
Landmarks Illinois is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation. New Venture Advisors worked with Landmarks Illinois and Chicago Public Schools to identify reuse opportunities for 18 schools that had been closed by the board of education to combat budget deficits. Recognizing Chicago as a well-established and growing hub of entrepreneurial activity in food and beverage, New Venture Advisors explored adaptive reuse cases centered on important assets of these schools – their kitchens, grounds, and multi-use spaces – that could serve as a foundation for food enterprises.
Greater Kansas City Food Hub Feasibility Study (public version)
New Venture Advisors conducted this study under the sponsorship of KC Healthy Kids and the leadership of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Council. The study recommended a farmer-owned cooperative food hub be developed, with a strong emphasis on supporting growers in expanding their production volumes.
Building Successful Food Hubs: A Business Planning Guide for Aggregating and Processing Local Food in Illinois
A joint project of FamilyFarmed.org and the Illinois Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, this planning guide provides entrepreneurs with information about various business and revenue models, business services, regulations and legal entities to encourage development of local food aggregation and processing centers. It also explains an effective approach to business development from opportunity identification through launch.
Southern Wisconsin Food Hub Feasibility Study
This study led by Dane County Planning and Development Department explores 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 comprehensive feasibility study that evaluates the potential for a business to be successful. The Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative began operations in 2013.
Ready to Grow: A Plan for Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Production in Illinois – Action Plan and Feasibility Study
This report, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, had two purposes: to identify the chief barriers to increasing specialty crop production in Illinois and recommend mitigating actions, and to explore the feasibility of creating aggregation facilities to strengthen markets for local food in the state. A project that identified opportunities by analyzing gaps in the Illinois food system and included sufficient financial analysis to test their reasonableness, it is a good example of the exploratory work a public body can undertake to set the stage for private business development. As an outcome of this work, two Illinois food hubs were launched in 2011.
Local Food System Assessment for Northern Virginia
This study laid the groundwork for Blue Ridge Produce, a for-profit aggregation and distribution company in Northern Virginia serving wholesale customers in Washington, D.C. The report examined the area food system’s agricultural and business landscape and identified the opportunity for business development. From this foundation the Blue Ridge team was quickly able to complete its feasibility assessment, adding the rigorous financial analysis typically conducted in a feasibility study, then its business plan, and raise capital for startup by May 2011.