Objective & Facility Uses
The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) identified an opportunity to perform a feasibility study to determine the viability of a certified, commercial, shared-use Agricultural Enterprise Center located in the Central Shenandoah Valley. In March 2020, the CSPDC issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a consultant to undertake a feasibility study. New Venture Advisors (NVA) was selected and began work on this project in July 2020.
Goal and Vision:
The goal of the project is to support business diversification and growth in the Shenandoah Valley through value-added products and the delivery of agricultural goods and products to new markets, specifically supporting local food entrepreneurs and farmers. The vision of the Agricultural Enterprise Center is to bring a multi-use facility to the region that can help local growers and producers expand their market area, bridge the market gap, and pool together products to meet market demands.
The objective of this feasibility study is to determine an optimal operating model for this potential facility based on the needs of in-region stakeholders (i.e., farmers, food businesses, and buyers). The study was organized into the following phased approach:
Commercial kitchen, food lab/testing kitchen, cold storage space (freezer/cooler), training space for smart-ag classes and seminars, packaging and distribution operations, and business planning resources.
Those that ultimately will benefit from this project include:
- Growers and producers desiring to distribute in larger markets through a food hub;
- Business start-ups seeking affordable access to certified commercial facilities;
- Existing small-scale food processors that want to test recipes and products to become business enterprises;
- Growers and producers seeking packaging solutions and services;
- Growers and entrepreneurs seeking food regulatory training and business support;
- Buyers seeking a clear and reliable way to purchase local products;
- Localities, particularly rural communities, wanting to broaden their tax base and encourage local jobs.