Small Food Producers Network

Evergreen offers programs specifically tailored to the emerging food industry sector through the Small Food Producers Network. In addition to regular networking events, the Small Food Producers Network offers admission based seminar series led by industry leaders, as well as one-on-one financial planning and loan-packaging assistance. Businesses on the Small Food Producers Network email list receive notices on events, programs, and other opportunities targeted towards specialty food entrepreneurs. To join our mailing list, contact Natalie Vichnevsky at nvichnevsky@evergreenexchange.org.

Regular Networking Workshops – Our events feature expert content on issues relevant to growing food companies. Past workshops have featured presentations on food safety, employee classification, and explainers on insurance options and research and development tax credits. We have also organized panels on financing programs, investor strategies, and food broker options.

Business Planning Seminars – Several times per year, the Small Food Producers Network hosts fully subsidized multi-session seminars for specialty food businesses. These seminars are admission based, and offer participating companies in-depth training on key business planning issues. Past seminars have included Quickbooks training, growth planning, human resources management capacity building and company culture development.

One-on-one Planning Assistance – Our staff offers long-term one-on-one business planning and financial consulting completely free of charge. Our staff is well versed in the full suite of financing options available to small food companies. We can also help you revise a business plan, assess financial projections, and guide you through the loan packaging process. We have significant experience working with emerging food businesses and can leverage this knowledge to help you get your business to the next level.

Research & Advocacy – Evergreen and the Pratt Center for Community Development released a report in 2015 that investigates workforce trends and future opportunities within New York City’s growing specialty food manufacturing sector. The study found that, while small, the sector has experienced significant growth over the past five years, and business owners project to double employment within the next three years. The study recommends two key strategies. First, promote a diverse workforce by forging relationships with workforce providers and food and beverage manufacturers. Second, create policies and programs to help these companies grow here in New York City, so that they can scale up and provide quality employment in the diverse neighborhoods where New Yorkers live.

While it has been some years since the release of the report, many of the obstacles facing the specialty food manufacturing sector remain the same today or have intensified. Finding affordable scale-up space within New York City and workforce issues continue to top the list. You can download the full report titled Food + Workforce_Connecting Growth and Good Jobs for NYC’s Emerging Specialty Food Manufacturing Sector. This report was funded through a grant by the New York Community Trust.