Center for Regional Excellence
   4039 Route 219, Suite 200
   Salamanca, New York  14779
   Phone: 716.945.5301 
   Fax: 716.945.5550



Southern Tier West received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to enhance local food efforts across the southern tier west region. The program proposes to demonstrate the nutritional, economical, and environmental benefits of consuming locally grown produce and locally made goods.

Program activities will include:
~ Creating and maintaining individual websites for local producers interested in marketing their goods via the internet
~ Providing education and outreach to both consumers and producers to expand and develop the local food systems in our region
~ Providing support for the creation of community gardens in the region
~ Cattaraugus County Business Development Corporation will establish an agri-business revolving loan fund to help finance local agri-businesses

STW 'Local Foods: From the Ground Up' Website
Current Local Food Guide

Meat Processing Study

In April, Southern Tier West was awarded an $18,550 “Buy Local” grant from NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to support the development of a regional local food brand, a strategic marketing plan, and assistance for media marketing placements. Southern Tier West is working with local food stakeholders not only in the Chautauqua-Allegheny agricultural region, but also with representatives from adjacent agricultural regions to develop complementary brand and marketing campaigns that will have maximum returns on increased consumer awareness of local foods and create increased demand for and sales of local food products.

Southern Tier West developed a Food Producer Survey and distributed it to a target audience of over 150 farmers, growers, food producers, and other local food participants. The comprehensive survey was designed to capture several areas of vital information including food producer profiles, production methods and capacities, processing and sales/distribution methods, business growth needs, and level of interest in participating in a local food branding program.

Initial responses from the Food Producer Survey indicated a majority support for the development of a local food brand and marketing program, which is a priority project for Southern Tier West. In April, Southern Tier West attended the Appalachian Regional Commission’s “Growing the Local Food Economy in Appalachia” Conference held in North Carolina and brought back many program models and resources for a local food brand program. A brand is a colorful graphic logo that can be used to identify food products that have been peer verified to have been grown or produced with food products grown within a defined geographic region. The use of a local food brand assures the consumer that their food dollars circulate within their local economy additional times and strengthen local farms and local businesses through collaborative promotion; that the food purchased is at the peak of its freshness and nutritional value; and that overall community physical and economic health indicators are positively impacted through greater consumption of local nutritious food.

Southern Tier West received a grant of over $78,000, which included creation of the food branding campaign that can be used by local procedures.  The local food brand that was adopted:

Southern Tier West also received a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) in the amount of $45,910 to do a consultant-driven study to look into the feasibility of creating a food hub for the three-county area and to develop a potential business plan and business model along with possible locations.  The proposed facility will be a food hub (aggregation, processing, and distribution) for the three-county service area, containing food aggregation and processing operations, dry and frozen storage, and warehousing and distribution operations.

Southern Tier West will also use the project to investigate the possibility of the commercial viability of including other functional operations in the facility, which could include but not be limited to a community kitchen, incubator space for local foods entrepreneurs, meeting space/classroom space for education about business development for local foods producers and nutrition issues related to locally produced foods.

The project will involve a feasibility study and business plan for the proposed facility.  Products of the RBOG Project, including the feasibility study and business plan, will be used to provide documentation of viability of the recommended concept and strategy, so as to secure grant and other funding for the creation and initial operation of the facility.

As part of the project, the applicant will undertake a survey and develop a Geographic Information System (GIS) based identification of current and potential local food production and current and potential markets for locally produced foods.

For further information on this program, please contact Kimberly LaMendola at (716) 945-5301 Ext. 2211 or