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UF/IFAS offers “How to Start a Food Business in Florida” workshop for entrepreneurs

Cutting slices of fresh cucumber.  Cucumbes, food prep, knife, cooking, vegetables.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Have you been thinking of turning your grandma’s delicious cake recipe into a cake-selling business?  Or maybe all your friends have told you that you should bottle your homemade organic salsa and sell it?

Soo Ahn, a University of Florida assistant professor for food science and human nutrition, is hosting the “How to Start a Food Business in Florida – Introduction to Food Entrepreneurship” course on April 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 4: p.m. at the Straughn Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Professional Development Center. The workshop will offer general information on food safety and quality, basic food science, business planning, and federal and state regulatory requirements for food business in Florida.

It is important to have a good business plan and basic understanding about food processing, packaging, marketing and regulatory requirements to run a successful business in a competitive food market, Ahn said.

“This program will be beneficial because participants can get a lot of helpful information all in one place,” Ahn said. “We’re trying to include everything necessary for them to start a business. This will give them the resources they can take with them after this workshop.”

For the past decade, there has been a marked increase in the amount of local and small‐scale food production in the U.S., Ahn said. This number is expected to increase with passage of the Cottage Food Law, which allows individuals to manufacture, sell and store certain types of cottage food products in an unlicensed home kitchen.

“Food entrepreneurship is very important – at least 42 states have passed the Cottage Food Law. It’s happening around the country and many other land grant universities have a similar program, but there was nothing in Florida,” Ahn said. “We have the Cottage Food Law and we have the interested people, so there was a need. Hopefully, this kind of a program will help build more small businesses, which can, ultimately, help our state economy and increase employment.”

The workshop is open to everyone. The registration fee is $125, which includes: course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. It will be limited to the first 35 registrants..

University of Florida faculty, representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) and local successful food entrepreneurs comprise the instructor team.

For more information on the event and application, please visit: http://fshn.ifas.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015-Food-Business-Workshop-Agenda-Registration-Form.pdf

By Rachel LaVigna, 352-294-3302, rlavigna@ifas.ufl.edu

Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, sahn82@ufl.edu

Photo by UF/IFAS Tyler Jones