Guide to Conducting a Feasibility Study
There are many cities, regions, and states in need of stronger regional food systems. We hope this How-To Guide will help you conduct a feasibility study in your region to identify unique needs and solutions for your community.
By sharing our process and lessons learned, we hope you and your community can learn from our successes and struggles and ask the right questions that will not only lead you to better understanding the capacity of your local food economy, but also strengthening the network of stakeholders in your local food system.
In this guide you will find:
Steps we took to prepare for a feasibility study. Some steps include network development, goal setting, and acquiring funding.
How we conducted a feasibility study. We continued the development of our network and inclusion of stakeholders as we conducted background research, developed surveys, collected data through surveys and interviews, analyzed results and evaluated the process.
Lessons we learned. Every process has aspects to learn from! We’re happy to share several strategies that benefited the study and others that would have improved the process.
Our plans for the future. Network development and stakeholder engagement doesn’t end with the study. Our next steps won’t be possible without the farmers, advocates, businesses, and other stakeholders who contributed to this research.
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In Fall 2016, High South Foods was awarded funding by the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) planning grant. The scope of this study included ongoing meetings with an external Advisory Board, comprised of local farmers. In addition, High South Foods and the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (K-CARD) met with former and current subject matter experts and thought leaders in the food system and aggregation space over the course of the study. With funding from the LFPP, High South Foods contracted with Wildflower Consulting to evaluate the reach and effectiveness of stakeholder engagement during the planning process.
This report evaluates the process taken by High South Foods coordinators to conduct the study.