Deadline for Request for Interest Applications December 5th
Outlining the latest step toward making a regional local food facility a reality, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that the county is seeking informational applications from individuals or organizations interested in owning and operating a first of its kind local food hub in Dane County.
The Request for Interest (RFI) is open to produce wholesalers, distributors, growers, grower groups, potential investors and other interested stakeholders. The deadline to submit an RFI to Dane County is December 5th of 2011. Additional information on how to apply can be found by following the links below.
“A regional food hub holds a great deal of promise for Wisconsin’s local growers, our region, and our local food economy,” said Parisi. “The county is excited to be able to provide an opportunity like this for the private sector to create new jobs and strengthen our economy.”
A path to the local foods facility was outlined in the recently released Southern Wisconsin Food Hub Feasibility Study (attached). That study found such a facility would enable area farmers to expand their operations and at full capacity achieve $20 million in sales with the potential to create over 40 full and part time jobs.
The food hub would enable growers to aggregate their produce, and provide storage, packing and distribution, limited processing, and private labeling for interested large volume buyers such as grocery stores, hospitals, and schools in the Midwest. It will also help to increase the profile of the Wisconsin local food brand throughout the region and raise the profile of the county and the state as a local and gourmet tourist destination site.
Information collected through the RFI process from all candidates will be evaluated to identify an owner/operator for the local food facility. The business selected through the RFI process will receive $28,000 from the county to conduct market analysis and complete a business plan, perform site selection, provide fundraising support and obtain detailed buyer information from the feasibility study. A business plan and market analysis are not required if no financing is requested.
More information on the regional food hub and the RFI process can be found through the following link under RFI 111101, “New WI Produce Packinghouse Opportunity”:http://www.danepurchasing.com/bids.aspx
Interested parties are encouraged to contact Olivia Parry, Senior Economic Development Specialist for Dane County at 608-266-4270 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initiating next steps for a local foods hub is the latest effort by Dane County to promote and encourage growth for local growers and food producers in the county. In 2005, the Dane County Board voted to create a Dane County Food Council, dedicated in part to expanding availability of local foods in the county and identifying resources for local growers.
In 2006, Dane County created the Institutional Food Market Coalition to link these local farmers and producers with large food buyers like universities, hospitals, hotels, and conference centers. This effort successfully sold and delivered well over 1.5-million dollars of locally grown products—vegetables, meats, and cheeses – to dozens of public and private sector users in 2010.
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The Southern WI Food Hub Feasibility Study was conducted by the Dane County Planning and Development Department, in partnership with FamilyFarmed.org, Dane County Extension, UW Extension and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection. Funding for the report was made possible by a federal Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, Dane County, the City of Madison, and Madison Gas and Electric.