CABA presents Blue Ridge Food Venture program March 30

Published 11:23 am Monday, March 28, 2011

Community Agri-Business Alliance (CABA) and Friends will meet on Wednesday, March 30 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Mill Spring Agricultural Center, located at 156 School House Road in Mill Spring. Guest speaker Mary Lou Surgi, director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures (BRFV), will address some of the regulatory issues related to making packaged food products for sale to the public and Martha Vining, BRFV’s product developer, will talk about the process of developing a product from idea to bottle.

The conversation style program will include a question and answer session that will give attendees the opportunity find out more about this issue. The event is free and open to the public, with food provided in potluck style.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an 11,000 sq. ft. shared-use commercial kitchen and food processing facility located on the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. BRFV provides services to those wishing to start or grow small businesses in the food industry and to local farmers who want to add value to their products through processing in an FDA-inspected kitchen.

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CABA and Friends is a membership organization developed for the support of Mountain BizWorks Alumni and the agricultural community in Polk County and surrounding areas in partnership with the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development. For the 20-plus years Mountain BizWorks has been committed to celebrating the spirit of small business ventures in Western North Carolina, with the fundamental commitment to economic empowerment. The focus of this particular Alliance has a special emphasis on agriculture, but the friends of agriculture are also encouraged to participate.

The purpose of the CABA is to support the business aspirations of its members within the framework of best business practices, develop and maintain positive relationships with the business, government and education communities in Polk County and surrounding areas, and for the purpose of networking. Other objectives are to initiate and support new approaches for business success in Polk County and to sponsor networking and educational opportunities for small, developing businesses in the region.

Mountain BizWorks is a non-profit organization that provides lending, training and coaching to benefit business opportunities in WNC. The mission of Mountain BizWorks is to train inspiring entrepreneurships and to build durable businesses through coaching and lending. The intention of CABA and Friends is to build a more vibrant regional agricultural economy in Western North Carolina.

The Polk County Office of Agricultural Development is focused on both creating new agricultural businesses and enhancing existing operations as part of a rural development and community strategy. This Alliance is becoming a critical forum for achieving these goals.

This project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2010-49400-21817.

For more information call Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell at 828-894-1000 or Lynn Sprague at 828-894-2281.