Value Chain Cluster Initiative supports food business development from field to fork
Note: This article was originally published May 9, 2013.
A new program called the the Value Chain Cluster Initiative provides hands-on business development and coaching services to strengthen local food and farm businesses in four regions of West Virginia. If you live in one of 17 eligible counties, and are a new or existing producer, processor, aggregator or distributor of local food, you can apply for:
- Business planning help
- Legal assistance (e.g. contracts, incorporation)
- Web technology to access markets
- Consulting services for marketing and branding
- Flexible loans through Natural Capital Investment Fund
- … and more
Available types of consulting assistance include:
- Development of HACCP plans
- Recipe formulation
- Facility design for a food processing or regulatory compliance
- Website development and label design
- Transition to organic certification
- Energy audits
- Assistance with REAP cost share grant applications and other programs
- Set-up of accounting systems
- Market assessment and planning
- Feasibility studies for processing or distribution facilities
Organizations that serve several businesses, such as co-ops, farmer groups, or farmers markets, can also apply for assistance with projects such as:
• Needs assessments and feasibility studies to expand aggregation or meat processing
• Design for regional local food branding campaigns
• Food safety trainings and other trainings for farmer groups
Which counties are eligible?
The program serves 17 counties in four regional clusters:
Doddridge, Tyler, Ritchie, Gilmer
Barbour, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur
Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas
Calhoun, Clay, Roane, Wirt
For general inquiries, or to get started with the program, contact:
Jill Young, statewide VC2 Technical Assistance Coordinator, at:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 304-661-4951
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the questions below, you may be eligible to receive services from this program.
1. Is your business or organization located in one of the 17 West Virginia counties served by the Value Chain Cluster Initiative?
2. Do you have a business or organization that deals with food or farming?
3. Is your business or organization a legally established entity? If not, do you plan to establish one?
4. If you have an existing business, are you up to date on required state and federal taxes, workers’ compensation obligations, and other applicable legal requirements?
The Value Chain Cluster Initiative is a program of Natural Capital Investment Fund. Funding is made possible by the USDA, theUS Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Claude Worthington BenedumFoundation.
Program partners include the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition,
the Collaborative for a 21st Century Appalachia
, the WVUExtension Service and its WV Small Farm Center
, the West Virginia Department of Education
, the Entrepreneurship Law Center atWVU College of Law
, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture
, the Small Business Development Center at WVU Institute of Technology
, Doddridge County Economic Development Authority
, the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department
, Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Authority
, Heart and Hand Inc.
, and Tygart
Valley Growers Association.