Juicing Up the Economy with Food Makers and Movers

From foodtank.com
Patty Lovera

In San Francisco, CA food and beverage wholesalers and distributors are growing after years of decline. Turning these startups into mainstays, or even icons one day is a big reason San Francisco is doubling down on assistance to them.

Its new Makers and Movers Economic Cluster Strategy may prove a model for other places that also see opportunity in this growing sector for building employment diversity and economic diversity.

Targeted Assistance

“A big driving force behind this study was the understanding that if San Francisco wants this cluster, it needs to hold on to this cluster,” said Eli Zigas, food and agriculture policy director at the San Francisco-based community development organization SPUR.

Securing specialized space for food and beverage businesses is a Makers and Movers priority. “Once you take out sinks and floor drains, for example, the chances someone will put those back in are slim,” Zigas said.

The strategy also calls for technical and business support, workforce development and retention, and transportation solutions.

Flyover states, too

San Francisco’s Makers and Movers strategy is specific to that city but also relevant across the nation.

Farmers’ market flavors and artisan food innovations have opened a Pandora’s Box of consumer and community demand all the way from rural and urban food deserts to corporate cafeterias. Now even the most middle of American towns can boast, or hopes to soon have, their own chocolatiers, craft breweries, neighborhood grocers, and regional wholesalers delivering fresh, local and ethnic foods to them.

Supporting this sector may be key to opening an overlooked but important group of jobs.

“Our research showed that the sector provides relatively well-paid jobs and career advancement opportunities for San Franciscans at all education levels,” said Diana Sokolove, a senior planner at the City of San Francisco.

Read the full story at the Good Food Economy Digest.