Program to help grow food businesses

The West Virginia University Extension Service is hosting a Food for Profit workshop on June 6 at the Belington Fire Department at 301 Watkins St. in Belington. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $30 to attend. Lunch and educational materials are included with the registration fee.

Food for Profit takes attendees through the beginning steps of starting small food businesses and combines presentations and guest speakers with an interactive learning environment.

“If you grow, make and pack your own food and sell it at a grocery store or restaurant, Food for Profit will help you create a business that matches your vision and goals,” said Josh Peplowski, ag and natural resources agent for the Barbour County WVU Extension Service.

Food for Profit is an award-winning program of Penn State University’s Cooperative Extension. It comes to West Virginia through a grant focused on advancing innovation in sustainable agriculture. The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education organization awarded the program a grant in 2012 to expand from Pennsylvania into Maryland and West Virginia.

In addition to Penn State Cooperative Extension and WVU Extension Service, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health also collaborated to bring the program into the state. The Barbour County workshop is the second Food for Profit in the state.

Presenters include Winifred McGee, a food and entrepreneurship expert with Penn State Extension, who manages the Food for Profit program; Teresa Halloran, foods marketing specialist with the state Department of Agriculture; and, among others, Litha Sivanandan, food safety specialist with the WVU Extension Service.

“Food for Profit has a great history of success. It will help a lot of food growers in West Virginia get the best information on how to successfully get their food to the public and make a profit in doing so,” Peplowski said.

The event’s registration deadline is Thursday. To register or for additional information, contact the WVU Extension Service Barbour County Office at 304-457-3255, or send and e-mail to Joshua.Peplowski@mail.wvu.edu. Food for Profit is a collaboration of the WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Families and Health program units.