Study Profiles Regional Food Chain

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One of the region's key exports is eggs. One of the region's key exports is eggs.
WELLS COUNTY -

The first phase of a report designed to shed light on gaps in northeast Indiana's food industry chain and ways to fill them is complete. The Northeast Indiana Regional Food Network released the results, which provide a foodshed profile of the 11-county region. The information is part of a strategic planning process aimed at strengthening local food networks and keeping more dollars in the region.

Phase I involves evaluating the regional economy and geography as well as the suitability for potential food and agriculture sector development.

Wells County Economic Development, which oversees the Northeast Indiana Regional Food Network, contracted Illinois-based Manheim Solutions Inc. for the study.

The network's future plans include:

  • regional food hubs
  • incubators
  • farm-to-fork initiatives
  • farmers markets
  • food festivals
  • cooking education
  • urban agricultural production
  • community kitchens
  • neighborhood spaces

The report's second phase involves gathering industry stakeholders like farmers and food buyers to review findings and provide feedback on project priority. The network will then develop action steps. Manheim Solutions will take it from there to work with stakeholders to assess the economic feasibility of identified strategies and create a draft business plan.

Wells County Economic Development Director Chad Kline says "bringing the key food stakeholders together will provide further understanding as we continue to develop the platform behind the Food Innovation Center in Bluffton. As we move forward through the additional phases of this study, collaboration among the region is important to the success in implementing these strategies."

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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