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Regional food enterprise center planned for Niagara County Fairgrounds

by jmaloni


Thu, Dec 11th 2014 06:00 pm

Seeking stakeholder input

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County has announced plans to do a feasibility study for a food enterprise center to be located at the CCE Niagara grounds (also known as the Niagara County Fairgrounds) in Lockport. The proposed facility will serve small and mid-size farmers who are looking to do value-added products, food business entrepreneurs who want to develop new products for market, and will also be an outlet for community education. The main goal of the project is to create a facility that grows food-related companies across Western New York.

"CCE is pleased to have received federal funding to conduct this feasibility study," said Executive Director Cathy Lovejoy Maloney. "We regularly receive calls from local farmers and other food-related business entrepreneurs looking for the resources and services this food enterprise center would provide. This is a great opportunity for the Western New York region, and we look forward to receiving stakeholder input to help inform this project."

The planning for the facility will encompass a variety of activities, including a regional survey of growers, business owners, educators and social entrepreneurs who will inform what programs and services need to be developed to best support the needs of the food and agriculture community. A brief survey is currently available online at cceniagaracounty.org. Farmers, food-related business owners and interested stakeholders are encouraged to fill out and provide their input.

CCE is the owner-operator of the Niagara County Fairgrounds, which is home to many functional buildings that are mostly used during the five days of fair in late July and early August. As such, the planning project will look at adaptively reusing one of the existing buildings on the grounds as the possible site for the food enterprise center.

The proposed food enterprise center's proximity to and affiliation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County will allow for the facility to easily work with and capitalize on the technical expertise and research through New York's agriculture experiment station, the technology farm and other food enterprise resources Cornell University can provide. Additionally, this location is central to the region, making it easily accessible to its intended audience across the Western New York region.

Federal funding for this project was awarded under the local food promotion program of the agricultural marketing service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information, or to receive a paper copy of the survey, contact Lisa Tucker, agriculture economic development specialist, at [email protected] or 716-433-8839, ext. 231.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization with programming that benefits children, families, farmers, seniors and communities across Niagara County. CCE is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities. It provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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