> August 20, 2015: One Page Cost Benefit Analysis Tool

Making decisions that make good financial sense is difficult. But difficult decisions become a whole lot easier when you have the right tool to walk you through the financial implications of your decision. 

Meet the One Page Cost Benefit Analysis Tool. Recently created by Farm Credit, this tool is designed to make your difficult purchasing (or other financial) decisions a little easier.

Watch the webinar to learn how this powerfully simple tool can help your business today, or how you can use this tool to assist the farms and other business owners you work with.

Visit the archive to watch this webinar.

> July 23, 2015: Systemic Change - How Formalizing Processes Increases Efficiency

Any business can benefit from increases in efficiency. For low-margin businesses (like food hubs) efficient operation is truly the only way to succeed. 

Although there is no "magic bullet" for making your business optimally efficient, formalizing and documenting the jobs and operations the business performs has been shown time and again to save time and money. From faster training of new hires, to decreasing costly errors, to increasing overall quality (ensuring happy customers!) taking a systems approach to your business positively effects your bottom line. 

This webinar will introduce how one might incorporate systems to bring your food business to the next level of sophistication, and efficiency.

Visit the archive to watch this webinar.

> September 25, 2014: Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014

Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable.

But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses?

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, through our partners at Farm Credit East, Farm Credit Council and Morse Marketing Connections, has collected and analyzed financial and operational data from dozens of hubs across the country, creating the second food hub benchmarking study. The pilot 2013 study showed good promise for our methodology, and this year's study has several times the number of participants, giving us a much better picture of how food hubs operate.

This webinar describes the lessons learned from the recent benchmarking study of food hub financial and operational characteristics. The presentation highlights how successful food hubs across the nation have achieved their mission and goals through financial and business metrics.

Understanding this study will benefit all manner of people interested in regional food systems. For instance, food hub operators will be able to identify performance standards and improvement strategies. Farmers who attend the webinar will gain a better understanding of their ability to access new markets through food hubs, and researchers and local food advocacy organizations will benefit from this webinar’s business-based analysis of food hub functions and operational issues. Private lenders and public sector funders will gain insight on strategic investment strategies for food hubs that will lead to positive economic and sustainable outcomes.

Watch the archive. 

> September 4, 2014: Putting Local on the Menu

Several institutional cafeterias and mid-priced restaurants are using clever techniques to source substantial amounts of local food, while maintaining their own affordability and profitability. This webinar, led by Anthony Flaccavento, presents the results ofSCALE Inc.'s research into how these kitchens are successfully putting local on the menu, while staying within their tight budgets.

Prioritizing local food while keeping costs reasonable is part art, and part science. This webinar honors that by illustrating some of the art with case studies, while presenting the 'science' in the form of a new tool.

The first half of the webinar reveals five best practices that showed up across SCALE's study. The driving forces behind The Root Café (Little Rock, AR) and Carlton College (Northfield, MN) will illustrate how they are using each of these techniques to get significant quantities of local food into their kitchens.

The second half of the webinar presents a tool, developed by SCALE, Inc. that enables buyers and local foods advocates to accurately determine the cost of local buying down to the level of per plate or menu item costs. We step you through how and why to use this tool.

Watch the archive.