In September 2022, USDA announced $400 million to fund the USDA Regional Food Business Center initiative. Twelve organizations were selected to lead efforts in their region and together serve all areas of the country. Region Five Development Commission was invited to execute a cooperative agreement with USDA AMS to support work of 35 different partners delivering services across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will support producers by providing localized assistance to access a variety of markets including linking producers to wholesalers and distributors. By strengthening connections between rural and urban areas, the North Central Regional Food Business Center will drive economic opportunities across the three-state region, creating a more diversified and resilient food system. These organizations are engaging with grassroots food and farm organizations and employing a range of creative strategies to build food system resiliency. The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will target their work to historically underinvested communities in their region.
The North Central USDA Regional Food Business Center is a collaboration of 35 partner organizations, helping to coordinate technical assistance and build capacity for farmers and food businesses in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The Center does this by:
- Connecting farmers and businesses together to create new ways of selling and buying food.
- Expanding the amount of food available and the number of people who want to buy it.
- Strengthening the food systems in the Upper Midwest to address supply chain issues and challenges for small businesses.
The goal is to transform a region that primarily focuses on commodity and large-scale agriculture into an area that also supports smaller, more resilient farm and food practices, specifically focusing on the development of critical infrastructure for small and mid-size livestock processing, fruit and vegetable processing, and warehouse space and storage operations.
The UMVRDC is a technical provider of the Center and can guide access to funding, including the Business Builder sub-award grants intended to provide food and farm businesses with up to $50,000 in capital needed to launch and expand their business. To learn more about this program, visit northcentralrfbc.orgUMVRDC REGIONAL ACTION PLAN
The North Central USDA Regional Food Business Center will accelerate the transformation of regional food systems and increase economic activity of small/mid-sized agricultural value chains in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
The purpose of this Action Plan is to identify needs and opportunities that support a regional food network throughout our five-county region. The Action Plan will direct resources over the next five years that are the result of the USDA Regional Food Business Center grant award.
The overall goals of the Center are:
- To have a more regionalized food system
- To create more economic benefits for growing local foods.
The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) will provide technical assistance to advance the local food system in the UMVRDC region.
The UMVRDC will do this through the following:
- Coordinate with other partners on a regular basis to identify gaps and avoid duplication.
- Review the Action plan and determine priorities, timeline, and project lead.
- Leverage funds by writing grants for local foods systems improvements.
- Evaluate and update this Action Plan
For more information, contact:
Community Development Specialist
W: 320.289.1981 x113