Guided Exploration of Value Added Enterprises Project
The project is designed to guide interested farmers/farmer groups, recruited at farmers markets and elsewhere, through product development, testing, equipment and supplies training, production, business formation, marketing and other issues ancillary to running a small value-added business.
1) 10 farmers/groups of farmers will understand all aspects of developing a value-added enterprise.
2) 30 farmers/groups of farmers will participate in portions of trainings and business classes offered.
3) All vendors in at least five farmers markets will have an understanding of value added enterprise development and regulations governing sales at farmers markets.
4) A core group of professionals will have “practiced” a holistic approach to assisting farmers in developing a successful value-added enterprise based on sustainable, local food production.
14 farms completed an eight=week NxLevel business planning course.
Led entire days' track on value-added at four State Vegetable Growers Conference - St Joe
(between 50 and 60 growers at each presentation).
April Growers School in Ottawa on setting up a Processing Kitchen. Thirty-six farmers attended
Kansas Dept. of Commerce held a tour. Three NxLevel alumni farmers were hosts.
Joint holiday open house featuring seven NxLevel alumni farms selling their value-added projects.
Second Growers School on setting up a Processing Kitchen in Salina. 27 farmers attended.
150 farms have contacted us for information.
84 farms have participated in various workshops.
19 agencies have cooperated in project activities.
15 Farmers Markets have been contacted. 95% of participants come from farmers markets. No farmers market had 100% (all farmers) interested in understanding value-added enterprise development.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
There are at least 14 farms that are seriously pursuing production of value-added products. Sixty-three farms are investigating setting up small-scale processing kitchens. Fifty to 60 other farms are in more beginning stages of production. It is very hard to estimate sales as the types of products and farms are so diverse. Projects include pastured poultry and eggs, on-farm day care, vegetable processing, sheep and sheep cheese, salad dressing, salsa, processed herbs, emus, chestnuts, christmas trees, organic grain for restaurants, corn maizes, sweet corn, hydroponic tomatoes and greenhouse crops, cut/dried flowers, etc.