While the food movement continues to deepen its roots in traditional, sustainable farming and emphasize whole foods, a new company is helping food start-ups through a well-known concept to the tech world: incubators.
Incubators are taking the world by storm. For those unfamiliar with the dot com world, they’re basically places that help tech entrepreneurs turn their ideas into a business plan and shop it around to investors. Now, Local Food Lab is applying the techie model to the ever-burgeoning food world as more and more people are finding a new beginning in local food businesses.
Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs birthed Local Food Lab when co-founder Krysia Zajonc left her job at Facebook to start her own café, bookstore, and chocolate line in Costa Rica. “When I started the food businesses, I kind of thought there would be the support network that I’d seen my peers in tech benefit from,” she said in a GOOD article. “But there was nothing like that in food. And at the same time we saw that people were so interested in food, and food was getting to be a really viable career for young people.”
Local Food Lab stimulates and accelerates successful innovation and entrepreneurship in local food systems to grow good food and farm startups. It believes that by providing education and a potent network of diverse professional resources, entrepreneurs can transform their ideas into thriving, sustainable ventures.
Apparently, it’s worked. This summer, Zajonc and her partner Mateo Aguilar worked with eight seed stage entrepreneurs in crafting a business plan, pitching investors, and building a network of contacts. Out of the four-week program came a company that imports specialty teas from small farmers in Nepal, a local-foods corner store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a company that purchases leftover animal bones from farmers to make stock, and others.