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The Plan

We Have a Plan


Four Basic Elements to the Plan

  1. Local Foods Business Accelerator - a place for local food companies to make their products and create jobs.
  2. Local Foods Retail Center - a place for local food companies to sell their products and create sales tax revenue.
  3. Take historical buildings owned by the City of Westminster that have been idle for years and utilize them in accordance with the City’s Strategic Plan.
  4. Convert a nearly empty shopping center and fill it with local food and healthy related businesses.

Phase I of this Plan is to begin immediately by placing the Local Foods Retail Store in the vacant 29,000 SF former Albertsons site within the Hidden Lake Shopping Center on the Adams County side of the South Sheridan URA.

Some Numbers Behind the Strategy

  • In 1994, there were approximately 1,755 farmers markets in the U.S.
  • In 2012, farmers markets have more than tripled to more than 8,100 where more than 3 million consumer shop.
  • In excess of 3 million consumers shop at Farmers Markets
  • One in every six U.S. consumers surveyed by analyst group Mintel is going out of their way to buy local food products as much as possible.
  • Growth in the Rocky Mountain Region was three times more than more than other parts of the country.
  • Farmers markets create an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue annually.
  • This $1.5 billion in direct sales from farmer to customers equals less than one half of one percent of total farm sales – but is growing fast!
  • When sales to local food retailers, restaurants and other local sources are added, total local food sales were estimated to be $4.8 billion in 2008.

Aligned with the City's Strategic Plan

The City of Westminster’s Strategic Plan contains these concepts that are addressed in the Local Foods Campus plan:

  • innovation
  • sustainable local economy
  • vision is implemented through collaborative and transparent decision making, ownership and sense of place, with easy access to amenities, shopping, and employment
  • empowered to address community needs and important community issues
  • City promotes and fosters healthy communities
  • advance the common interests of the region
  • advance business attraction strategy
  • encourage the development of chef-owned and/or operated restaurants
  • grow small businesses through incubation

In Summary Our Plan is to:

  1. take a nearly empty shopping center and fill it with local food/healthy related small local businesses;
  2. take historical buildings owned by the City and that have been idle for years and utilize them in accordance with the City’s Strategic Plan; and
  3. create approximately 120 jobs in the first two years.

The concept for the Local Foods Campus builds on successful elements developed by other cities and universities that were designed to promote and support their respective local foods markets. We have adapted those proven concepts to fit the specific assets located on and adjacent to the Shoenberg Farms Site. However, no other city or university has had the ability to integrate these successful elements into the cohesive and synergistic arrangement contained in this Westminster Local Foods Campus concept.

Strategic Goal

The Strategic Goal of the Plan

Healthy eating made affordable and convenient for the entire community.

Food - a natural connector between rural and urban Colorado.

Where

Urban Renewal District – At 72nd & Sheridan

The Local Foods Retail Center, with locally produced non food items, will be located in the Hidden Lake Shopping Center - previously an Albertsons’ store.

Hidden Lakes Shopping center currently sits nearly vacant today.

The Local Foods Business Accelerator & Culinary Arts Center will be located in city-owned historic buildings that have been boarded up for years.

Retail

Moving the outdoor seasonal Farmers Market experience into an indoor year-round convenient source of affordable, healthy food. Instead of this...

Visualize this...

Local Foods Retail Center

The Local Foods Campus Retail Center will serve as a year-round indoor Farmers Market-style connection between the rural food producer and the urban food consumer. This Local Foods Campus Retail Center will provide over 900 separate local food products from over 200 local food companies - all within a well-lit, well-organized and professionally managed indoor shopping facility designed to make consistent access to local foods and healthy eating both convenient and affordable. The 900 Local Food Products will include fruit, produce and herbs from apples to zucchinis, as well as a wide selection of eggs, honey, dairy products, beans, flour, jellies, salsas, sauces, meats and more. This Local Foods Retail Center will also feature hundreds of locally made non-food retail products.

Local Foods Business Accelerator/Small Batch Facility

Our research indicates that fewer than 10% of the small food producers/farmers in Colorado and the hundreds of products they produce ever find their way to the retail shelves of Whole Foods, King Soopers or other large food retailers. Our targets for the Local Foods Business Accelerator are among the remaining 90%.

The Local Foods Business Accelerator will serve as a resource for these producers to gain the knowledge and resources to grow into sustainable and viable businesses.

The Small Batch Food Processing, Packaging and Storage Facility will allow dozens of local food companies to share a common facility to process, package and store their food products affordably freeing them from the need to create this capability separately on their own.

Unlike a traditional incubator, our emerging company owners do not have to physically sit in our brick & mortar location within the Local Foods Campus in Westminster. The majority are already operating out of their own homes, farms and buildings. For some who don’t have the right environment, our shared office space would give them the benefit of relocating to our Local Foods Campus.

In our experience, the best Path to Investors is a demonstrated Path to Revenue via actual sales to and acceptance of products by the customers. Our Business Accelerator will give participants access to food sector experts with decades of hands-on experience to help our Emerging Food Company Partners quickly grow and succeed, avoiding business pitfalls.

This will include working directly with local high schools, community colleges and universities to help create the skills needed for a quality and trained workforce within the local foods industry.

The proposed Small Batch Facility is a place to turn strawberries into jars of jam, tomatoes & jalapeños into containers of salsa and heads of lettuce into packaged mixed salads. The purpose of the Small Batch Facility is to provide our Emerging Food Company Partners the ability to avoid the expense of each small company having to create their own separate food production and packaging capability, thus allowing them to apply their limited resources to the design and marketing of their food products. Although the food raw materials may have been grown on the Eastern Plains or Western Slopes, this added value process creates jobs here.

For Example - Instead of This…

Think This…

Existing Small Batch Facilities

College of Agriculture & Life Science

Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship

Cornell Food Science

Ontario Food Processing Plant

Why

The Farmers Market Experience is Ready for its Next Level of Maturity

"Farmers’ Markets are evolving."


According to architect Fidel Delgado, "Farmers Markets are moving away from seasonal, parking lot produce stands and becoming year-round, self-sustaining, community hubs." In his blog post at the USDA website, Delgado points out that creating infrastructure to support local foods sales helps to strengthen local economies.

Click to read more from Delgado.

Local Job Creation

Another benefit produced by expanding the local foods industry in Colorado is local job creation and specialized infrastructure. Increasing the consumption of local foods creates the need for increased production of local foods, which in turn increases the demand for employees and more production equipment and more buildings to house the employees and equipment.

Perhaps as important, the skills needed for the jobs created within the expanded local foods industry fit well with a vocational work force for entry level workers as well as a path for the chronically unemployed and underemployed mature workforce that have great leadership and work ethic skills developed over decades of work experience even though their previous specific jobs skills may be seen as outdated by some.

What are others doing?

Our plan is based on the success of others.

Boston, Massachusetts

The Brookline Winter Farmers Market is housed at the Arcade Building on Harvard Street in Coolidge Corner. Vendors from the town's seasonal outdoor market moved inside this wonderful, 1927 architectural gem for the winter. Click Here for more details

Chicago, Illinois

Vendors, farmers, artisans and shoppers enjoy an indoor Farmers Market experience at Logan Square in Chicago. Click Here For More Information

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Click here for more info

Charlotte, South Carolina

Click here for more info

Where the Food Dollar Goes

Local Food is the Economic Driver. Coloradans Spend $9 Billion a year on groceries alone. When that money is spent in National Chain Stores, the vast majority of that money leaves the local economy. However, if that money is spent on Local Food, the impact on Local Economies incredible. For an illustration, "Follow the Money" below:

Culinary Arts & Local Foods

Connecting culinary arts with local foods

A key part of the larger plan for the Local Foods Campus and its adaptive reuse of the historic Shoenberg Farms site is the use of the old milk barn as a connecting point for culinary arts”and local foods.

The City of Westminster has already expended significant funds to create a clean and sturdy shell for this old structure. We intend to outfit this shell with a restaurant-quality food preparation and food presentation capability.

The old milk barn

We would provide the place and the raw materials and our culinary partners will provide the art and talent. We are actively seeking culinary partners from

  • classroom based culinary arts programs in Colorado high schools
  • Colorado culinary colleges
  • professional chefs

This collaboration could ranges from using our facilities to host special food tasting events or class fundraisers to developing recipes for food products we can produce and package in our Small Batch facility and then sell in our Local Foods Retail Store.

Funding Plan

Where will the money come from?

The Westminster Local Foods Campus is designed as a Public/Private Partnership. The capital necessary to create the Local Foods Campus will be a combination of public and private sources. The plan for the Local Foods Campus is based on the growing market driven demand for affordable and convenient year round access to local foods, the benefits of affordable healthy foods and the local economic development impact of expanding the supply of local foods, and it is adapted to the realities of the under-utilized and undervalued assets with the existing Urban Renewal Area (URA).

A for-profit model

The Local Foods Campus is Intended to be a for-profit enterprise

Our value proposition is based on the optimization of a niche set of local/regional food providers via a hyper efficient local/regional food production and supply chain servicing a limited number of local food stores that generates cash each month. We intend to be more than just a year-round indoor farmers market. We intend to create a blending of a modern food market with the experience of an intimate relationship with and knowledge of local/regional food producers and their products.

Food Safety

Food safety – a major health issue

Knowing where your food comes from is more than just a neat Saturday morning experience at your local Farmers Market.

Knowing where your food really comes from is also a matter of food safety and protecting your family.

Indications are, that you can not rely solely on the Government to be the watchdog on this critical matter.

You Have to get involved. You have to read the label. You have to ask the questions and get the answers. Food safety is an important personal matter.

To read more from the CDD about Food Safety, click here.

Community Garden Site

Creating a Community Garden site is an important component within our larger plan for the Local Foods Campus. As with any real estate issue, location is critical. We believe we have identified a viable location for our Community Garden. The site is a approximately two acre parcel within the South Sheridan Urban Renewal Area and adjacent to our Local Foods Retail Center within the Hidden Lakes Shopping Center.

Learning About Your Food

Knowledge is Power

The Westminster Local Foods Campus is Intended to serve as a source of knowledge and learning about the localization of our food supply.

We will establish a pathway to information and knowledge sharing between the food producer and the food consumer using direct relationships between producer and consumer and user-friendly technology and multimedia tools.

There are real and measurable nutritional differences between mega-produced foods and those foods grown, processed and packaged locally. Knowing more about their food empowers every food consumer. The more we know, the better purchasing decisions we can make for ourselves and our families.

Historic Shoenberg Farm Site

Historic Shoenberg Farms buildings owned by the City of Westminster

The Shoenberg Farms Site is located at the northwest corner of 72nd and Sheridan in Westminster, Colorado. Only a few structures remain from what was once an 800-acre dairy and egg production facility.

The City of Westminster currently owns several of those historic buildings, using monies from the State Historic Fund for some refurbishment. These buildings have remained empty for the last five years.

With a fascinating history, interesting architecture, and a location surrounded by urban development, the Shoenberg Farms Site serves as a gateway to the southern entrance to Westminster. The preservation and adaptive reuse of the Shoenberg Farms Site and its agricultural legacy is one of the key goals of this project. However, the historic Shoenberg Farms site and its buildings are only a small portion of the total area targeted within the larger Local Foods Campus.

Historic Shoenberg Farms buildings owned by the City of Westminster

Historic Shoenberg Farm Site The Old Milk Barn

Historic Shoenberg Farm Site Farm House

Shoenberg Farm, City of Westminster, Historic Site

Who

We Have Assembled an Experienced Team

  • Extensive experience with Local Foods Systems
  • 20+ years in deal structure/capital formation
  • 30+ years in retail food industry
  • 40+ years in organic food industry