Market Development Assistance

The Division of Agriculture Resource Development helps facilitate market research and market development activities.

Food Hubs

Food Hub development has become a buzzword for USDA and others in the Farm to Institution movement. Definition of Food Hub types can be found in a USDA document (The Role of Food Hubs in Local Food Marketing) and in an earlier publication from Cardiff University in 2008 (Food Hubs: The "Missing Middle" of the Local Food Infrastructure?). Both documents stress the need for entrepreneur development in the private sector as the most successful, long-term strategy for Food Hub development, even though public or private foundation funds may help get a fledgling Food Hub started.

Other publications of interest to Food Hub development interests include the following:

Small Scale Food Processing

Staff helps educate small food producers such as home foods manufacturers on what they must do to produce value-added products in their homes. Some of the questions have been: What can I produce if I process in a separate facility from my home?, Do I need to have my product tested?, Does my product need to be labeled?, If so what does the label need to include?, Do I need to obtain a license for my product?, can I wholesale as well as retail my product?, as well as many others. Staff fields questions from small producers and processors on a weekly basis by e-mail, phone, and in person.

The Small Business Administration, through the Small Business Development Centers, provides free technical assistance to help small food processors put together business plans. Cooperative Extension is also involved and provides educational services through their specialists at the University of Maine. Coastal Enterprises also has developed programs to support technical assistance to small food processors. The Department works cooperatively with all these agencies, as well as other non-profits, to support small food processors.