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NC State Extension

Adding Value to Local Food

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Consumers want more convenience built into their local-food choices; flavorful options that are less perishable than farm-fresh products and require minimal preparation at home. This page has a variety of local, state and national resources that will help guide you in starting a food business and in adding value to the local food you produce and sell.

jars of pickled vegetables

On This Page

Guides & Toolkits Publications
Programs Videos

:Guides & ToolkitsGuides and Toolkits

Resource Description
Hubs & Kitchens: Food Hubs, Commercial Community Kitchens, and Copackers in NC: This 2017 directory from NCGT and UFOODS is designed to inform farmers and other food businesses of the location and services offered by food hubs, commercial community kitchens, and copackers. It also provides grocery and food service buyers – including restaurants and institutional food service at universities and hospitals – with information on where they can find NC food and farm products packed for retail and wholesale markets.
Food Business Road Map This interactive page acts as a kickstarter for starting your food business. It was originally created by Taylor E. Hayes, 2017 NC Growing Together Local Food Supply Chain Apprentice, with Eric Hallman and Sue Ellsworth.
Starting a Food Business This NCDACS webpage contains a list of resources on starting up a food business in NC. Find information on topics such as starting a home-based food business and starting a non-home based commercial food processing facility.
The Business Side of the Food Industry This NCDACS webpage has general business information for food entrepreneurs including a list of NC-based co-packers and a listing of shared-use and business incubator kitchens by region in NC.


Extension/University Programs

Resource Description
NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences This department is tasked with interpreting, adapting and extending research information to the NC, national, and international food and bioprocessing industries. It also maintains and improves the safety, variety, and quality of food and biological products.
Food Business This Extension webpage contains news and updates, information on the Acidified Foods Manufacturing School, state and federal resources for small businesses, and more.
Nutritional Labeling Nutrition Facts panels found on food products in the United States are not legally required for most small producers. However, they are requested by many distributors and customers. The FBNS Extension Program offers assistance with nutritional labeling.
Entrepreneur Initiative for Food (ei4f) ei4f can help whether you only have an idea, are just starting up, or have already established a food-based business. From small, cottage-type industries to large processing plants, there is a variety of assistance available.
Food Business Services: The Entrepreneurial Program Learn how you could benefit from this program’s two main services: Product Testing & Processing Recommendations and Nutritional Information.
Food Business This FBNS webpage offers information for specific business scenarios.
HACCP Certification Program Online courses for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Certifications.
NC State Sensory Service Center This Center provides University and contract (proprietary) qualitative and/or quantitative sensory testing tailored to meet the needs of each client.

State & National Programs

Resource Description
NC Specialty Foods Association The North Carolina Specialty Foods Association is a volunteer organization providing its membership with educational, marketing and collaborative opportunities that promote their passion for culturally diverse and excellent specialty food products, while creating quality brand recognition.
NCDACS Marketing – Agribusiness Development This NCDACS webpage has resources and contact information for those who are needing assistance in planning, expansion, financing or site location for new or existing agribusiness related industries.


Resource Description
Adding Value to Local Foods This document from CEFS and NC Growing Together Project introduces general principles for successfully creating further-processed foods and where to find specific guidance at each developmental stage. 
U.S. Kitchen Incubators: An Industry Update This publication is authored by Adam Wodka, Community Impact Analyst, and American Communities Trust.
Developing Shared-use Food and Agricultural Facilities In North Carolina
Research funded through the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. Smithson Mills and Cameron World, 2007.
Community kitchens: key elements of success (Research Brief #54)
UW-Extension Emerging Agricultural Markets Team. 2001.


Resource Description
Adding Value to Local Food Webinar The following recorded presentations are from this webinar that occurred in March 2016: Trends in Local Food Markets with Gary Bullen, NC State University; Early Stage Market Research with Annette Dunlap, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services; and Technical Guidance with Barry Nash, NC Sea Grant.

Primary Contact:
Laura Lauffer
Extension and Outreach Program Manager
NC Growing Together Project
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
NC State University