Huddle Notes from November 2nd, 2020

The huddles this month focused on food and farm observations related to COVID, how politics is influencing the industry, and fun events to check out! View the recording here.

Talking Points

  • The Food Finance Institute received a Local Food and Promotion Program (LFPP) Grant
    • As part of this, we have funds to set up a Consultant Mastermind Group
      • Tera will facilitate the group and coach consultants individually
      • Identify bigger opportunities to take on as a group
    • Contact sarah.larson@business.wisconsin.edu if you’d like more information or would like to participate
  • Infectious Diseases Documentary
    • Characteristics of the next pandemic were predicted
    • The degree to which the vaccine is mutating – it will likely be around awhile.
      • Could be a long process until we build up immunity.
        • May need to figure out how to do things differently for a long time
          • When restaurants have a hard time, so do the farms, distributors, etc.
  • Edible-Alpha® Live! Cohort Member: Garfield Produce
    • Indoor ag organization that employs ex-felons, supplying restaurants in Chicago which means business inconsistent right now
    • The owner is a CPA so they have a financial mindset and were able to break even
    • On a call with regulators of the City of Chicago to help restaurants survive the winter. Considering outdoor seating in winter… but how? Kept running into walls due to law restrictions.
  • David Chang on Restaurants
    • The restaurant industry was already shaky due to this and then COVID hit.
      • Rent is too high, impossible to get employees or offer benefits and pay employees well, therefore high overturn.
      • The mental health of restaurant owners and employees was not great before COVID either
    • Diversify revenue with
      • Kitchen equipment (i.e. Foreman Grill)
      • Prepared food brands
        • Still requires money to get these started…
  • Edible-Alpha® Live! Cohort Member: Lost Creek Farm
    • A married couple, chefs, who do storytelling about Mountain Cuisines in West Virginia
    • The richness of storytelling vs. Branding – people are hungry for richer stories; storytelling can be very valuable during this time.
    • Listen: Edible-Alpha® Podcast – Lost Creek Farm Shares the Stories Behind Food

Trends

  • Election causing more uncertainty for everybody in the food industry
    • Big food companies
      • Are expecting the worst post-election, mixed with the worst of COVID. Predictions are things won’t get better until the middle to end of 2021.
      • Still cutting product lines to have an easier to manage supply chain
    • Grab and go foods are gone
      • Need people to go back to offices to get this back up and running
    • Impact Investors
      • Ag policy with Democrats: The use of the term regenerative agriculture is on the rise in bills with Cory Booker for example.
      • Could unlock a lot of capital and impacts on climate change

Tips & Next Steps

  • Food & Farm: Edible-Alpha® Live! 
    • December 8: Kickoff Event | 6pm – 8pm | Virtual 
      • Join us for an interactive hour of food storytelling from Lost Creek Farm, followed by curated connections with our participating Edible-Alpha® Live! interviewees, pitch businesses, investors, and the stakeholders that are supporting them. Learn more & register here.
      • RSVP and share on Facebook!
  • December 9: Main Event | 9am | Virtual 
    • Participate in interviews with path-breaking innovators in food and agriculture. Listen to presentations from innovative early-stage farm and food entrepreneurs. Network with a wide range of stakeholders at the event through our virtual conference platform and curated connections. Learn more & register here.

Contact Us: info@foodfinanceinstitute.com
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