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AgPlus Workshops Bring Resources to Rural Communities

Blog: Project Update
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Author:
Adrian Rehn

Between November 2016 and May 2017, Valley Vision held four workshops in rural areas across the Sacramento Capital region, connecting food and ag businesses with financing information and business development opportunities. The workshop series attracted over 200 attendees and featured 34 resource providers, thanks to a grant from USDA Rural Development.

An initiative of the Central Valley AgPlus Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium (AgPlus), this project has helped catalyze a stronger food, agriculture, and beverage manufacturing ecosystem here in the Sacramento region and beyond. The purpose of the workshops was to get funders in the same room as those seeking funding. It was rewarding to see a small grower, manufacturer, or other food-related business learn about a financing opportunity that aligns perfectly with their business goals, or a funder learning something new from an experienced farmer or food producer. We kick-started numerous conversations between businesses and prospective funders. If you are moving forward with a project or funding request because of our workshops, be sure to adrian [dot] rehn [at] valleyvision [dot] org (let us know)!

Workshop in Marysville, January 27, 2017

Valley Vision and our AgPlus Consortium partners held workshops in Winters, Marysville, Placerville, and Courtland, attracting rural businesses in four corners of the capital region. We would like to give special thanks to USDA Rural Development California, the Economic Development Administration, the Capital Region SBDC Network, U.S. Small Business Administration, California Bank & Trust, Habitat for Humanity Yuba/Sutter, the Delta Protection Commission, University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). We would also like to recognize the City of Winters, 420 MVL, Folsom Lake College – El Dorado Center, and the River Delta Unified School District for their help with meeting spaces. Thank you all! Also thanks to our elected officials for their support – Congressmen Bera, Garamendi, and McClintock; Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry, Gallagher, and Bigelow; Supervisors Don Saylor (Yolo County), Brian Veerkamp and Shiva Frentzen (El Dorado County); and Mayor Stan Cleveland of Yuba City.

For each workshop, Valley Vision prepared a resource chart listing all the participating resource providers, with easy-to-read descriptions of their business development programs and a contact person for each. This is a great resource for farmers, ranchers, food processors, restauranteurs, distributors, or other food and ag-related businesses interested in getting funded, learning how to run their business more efficiently, or otherwise move their projects forward.

As a next step, the AgPlus Consortium will be hosting a Central Valley-wide Funders Forum on October 17 and 18, 2017 in Sacramento County. The purpose of this event is to share innovations in financing tools for business, and to determine the feasibility of a regional finance fund to support new and existing food and agriculture businesses and nonprofits in the Central Valley. For more information, please adrian [dot] rehn [at] valleyvision [dot] org (email Adrian Rehn) or call (916) 325-1630.

Workshop in Courtland, May 12, 2017

Our fellow AgPlus leads in Chico and Fresno have also been conducting parallel small business workshops in their respective regions. For questions about these activities in the North State/Chico area, please msuplita [at] csuchico [dot] edu (email Michael Suplita) or call (530) 898-3855. For questions in the San Joaquin Valley, please echerkaski [at] mail [dot] fresnostate [dot] edu (email Erik Cherkaski) or call (559) 278-4575.

To keep in touch, please subscribe to Valley Vision’s food and agriculture newsletter, Food for Thought, which goes out on a monthly basis to over 1,500 food and ag leaders across the Sacramento region and Northern California.

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Adrian Rehn is a Valley Vision Project Associate working in the food system, broadband, and communications portfolios.