By Rick Cohler
BROWN/KEWAUNEE COUNTY – The statewide 2023 Food Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development (FEED) Summit to be held in Green Bay Nov. 13-14 is designed to provide information and guidance for entrepreneurs starting or growing a food-related business.
The first summit was held in Dane County in 2018 and broadened to a statewide event in 2019.
COVID-19 forced the 2020 and 2021 summits to be held virtually.
Last year’s event was a two-day virtual event, but now the summit, co-sponsored by UW-Extension, New Food Forum and Indigenous Economic Development Corporation, will be a two-day in-person summit held at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
Jessica Spayde, the food entrepreneurship specialist with the UW-Extention’s Food Systems Program and Patrick Nehring, the community development specialist with UW-Extension in Brown County, are coordinating the event.
“Food entrepreneurship has some unique characteristics than a standard retail business,” Nehring said. “Food has aspects that really demand attention.”
While the previous summits have been held in Madison, Nehring said Green Bay was chosen because it is a logical site due to the meat and dairy food industries’ strong presence in the city and surrounding counties.
“Green Bay is a food distribution and production location so it fits our area,” Nehring said.
Spayde said the summit can also benefit area farmers who want to market their products.
Attendees include farmers who may have a community supported agriculture (CSA) operation or may be looking at some value-added process or diversify their market.
“We have people who make maple syrup, have honey bees,” Spayde said. “We also have people who process food, who buy products from their local farmer then make salsa, jam and other products and current retailers.”
Culinary arts producers will be able to gain advice and insight about turning their passion into a business with information about government regulations.
Available grant programs will also be available.
Nehring added that anyone who just has an idea for a food-related business but has not yet put anything down on paper can also benefit.
The summit is also designed to accommodate people from a wide array of ethnic backgrounds, offering translations in several languages.
Christy McKenzie, owner of Pasture & Plenty, P&P Makeshop and Edible Madison Magazine, will give the Monday keynote speech about “How Passion Helps You Take the Leap of Entrepreneurship!”
The rest of the day will be spent in breakout sessions which will cover a wide variety of topics.
Sessions include: adding value to your business, food safety, business planning, grants workshop, sourcing local ingredients, accounting, calculating cost-product development, starting a business in an emergent/new market, local food and economic development, working with a business incubator, what’s your exit plan and a law and entrepreneurship clinic with legal experts from UW-Madison.
The evening will feature a tour of Broadway Street with dinner at the Cannery, an incubator center for new restaurants in Green Bay.
For more information about the 2023 FEED Summit in Green Bay, visit https://foodsystems.extension.wisc.edu.