The most promising economic development and market entry strategies are:
- Developing a robust information campaign and toolkit to inform institutional food buyers how to connect to existing local food sources whether farms, farm aggregators, food hubs, Maine-based distributors, or broadline distributors with Maine-sourced food options. Filling this information gap could lead to an almost immediate 10 percent increase in weekly orders of Maine sourced foods.
- Farmers that have or could develop the scale and experience to serve as aggregators in their own right could benefit form assistance with infrastructure, business planning, tackling technical requirements, and helping to deepen their penetration of institutional and other food service markets. The ‘farmer-aggregator’ approach to distributing foods, in combination with the local foods distribution network and infrastructure already in place, represents a stronger business opportunity than launching a new stand-alone, centralized food hub facility.
- Partnering with existing food hubs, farmers, farmer aggregators, Maine-based distributors, and food producers, Good Shepherd Food Bank could help resolve stubborn gaps in the regional food system by leveraging their newly acquired storage and distribution facility along side the market and logistics expertise the partners can bring to bear.
- Identifying and directing sources of capital support for acquisition of a blast freezer to benefit existing food hubs, farmers, farmer aggregators, Maine-based distributors, food producers, and Good Shepherd Food Bank.
- Support for increasing production of certain value added foods (e.g., baked goods, culinary herbs) from Maine-sourced materials for hotel, events, and other markets.