Updates from Regional Local Food Meetups

In January & February, 2023 producers across the state met for regional meetings.  Held in Yankton, Chamberlain, Watertown and Rapid City, the goals of these meetings were for networking, discussing what challenges & resources exist in their region for local foods, and brainstorming potential opportunities they may wish to explore. 

Each region compiled a list of action items they would like to see, however, the next step needed is for individuals to take on a project outlined below.  These could be great opportunities to work with neighbors to each improve your business, to apply for a Specialty Crop Block Grants, or perhaps to start an additional enterprise. If you are interested in getting involved in a project below, feel free to email SDSPA and Laura can connect you with anyone else who has expressed an interest.  

A team working on the I-90 region is exploring the possibility of a commercial kitchen space that can be rented out or a co-packer.  If utilizing either of these is of interest to you, please complete this survey by March 12th.  

 

Ideas from Watertown:

1) Development of a communication platform or system where retailers and producers can contact each other easily. Could also develop stronger marketing as a collective group. 

2) A commercial kitchen that could be used be rented out- to develop kitchens or relationships with currently existing kitchens.

3) A Watertown branch of Dakota Fresh Food Hub.

4) Website to connect producers and buyers in Eastern South Dakota, as well as having a section on what customers are requesting. 

 

Ideas from Chamberlain:

From this event, a team is working on feasibility of a co-packer or commercial kitchen space along I-90. See survey above.

 

Ideas from Yankton:

1) Developing/ distributing print local food directories.

2) Promoting farms in the region via media.

3) Meet & Greet events for consumers/wholesale buyers & producers to meet. 

4) Exploring solutions for spray drift issues.

5) Supporting the start of a compositing company or compost sites in SD.

6) Collaborating with other producers to help with transport costs to bring in compost.

7) Local grain coop and mill.

8) Facility to process value added products.

9) Finding commercial kitchen space that could be rented out. 

 

Ideas from Rapid City: 

This meeting took place at the end of February, and so the next steps have not been laid out yet.  However, some key themes were marketing, education for consumers & producers, and an organizational structure & coordinator for producers.

 

Contact SDSPA if interested in connect with these groups.