New Reports Describe Vital Opportunities for San Jose’s Food Sector

SAGE has released two new reports which describe vital opportunities  for two food business sectors in San Jose.  These reports, the San Jose Wholesale Food Center Development Prospectus and the San Jose Food Business Incubator Needs Assessment, are follow up analyses based on recommendations from the San Jose Food Works study, produced by SAGE in early 2017.

The  San Jose Wholesale Food Center Development Prospectus describes the need for a facility and related infrastructure to serve existing, and potentially new, co-located food wholesalers, processors, and specialty food producers as well as local farmers, while improving agricultural vitality and economic health. The Prospectus includes sections on the Food Center Concept, Recommended Management Structure, Estimated Costs and Funding Needs, Consistency with City Policies, and Potential Economic Benefits, as well as Appendices about San Jose’s Industrial Real Estate Market and a Comparative Analysis of other Wholesale Food Markets. The purpose of the Prospectus is to present a high level development opportunity to prospective private and public development partners in order to get feedback and elicit interest. Building on our work to date and in partnership with interested businesses, SAGE is now seeking funding to create an actionable high level business plan to move this needed project toward realization.

The San Jose Food Business Incubator Needs Assessment is an evaluation of the needs of early stage and small-scale food entrepreneurs in the San Jose area for resources including facilities and programs, technical assistance, financial assistance, and assistance with regulatory compliance.  The Assessment covers general types of food entrepreneurs and resources they need, resources available in San Jose, and the methodology and results from a survey administered to 56 food entrepreneurs in the San Jose area.  The Assessment also includes recommendations section for a range of strategies for helping food entrepreneurs grow successful businesses and the roles of potential implementation partners. The Appendices include a list of existing resources for San Jose food entrepreneurs and case studies of some exemplary facilities. The purpose of the Assessment team is to catalyze the partnerships and investments needed to enable food entrepreneurs to strengthen their myriad contributions to the vitality of San Jose’s food economy and diverse culture.

These two projects were made by possible by the contributions of many business and community partners and by generous support from funders – the Knight Foundation and the City of San Jose Office of Economic Development and Housing Department.  The projects benefited from the thoughtful guidance of the Food Works Advisory Committee: Kristen Clements, San Jose Department of Housing, Cayce Hill, Veggielution; Julie Hutcheson, San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School; Marc Landgraf, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and Eli Zigas, SPUR.

In October, 2018, SAGE was awarded a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant for the project, San Jose Wholesale Food Center Feasibility Analysis, in order to more deeply investigate this promising and needed concept.