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Regional Food Systems Create Jobs

Sue Noble, Executive Director at the Vernon Economic Development Association in Wisconsin, explains that rural communities can help win the future for America by providing infrastructure investment with regional food systems.

Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

I am honored by the White House Champions of Change award. It was a real thrill to sit at the table with the White House Rural Council and eighteen ambitious leaders from across the United States and see the incredible creativity that each one has lent to improving conditions in America. I was especially excited that President Obama joined our meeting and met us individually to get acquainted with each of our efforts.

I shared with President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and the Rural Council some of the significant opportunities our business model represents for promoting economic development, job creation and wealth building in rural communities. 

Our Food Enterprise Center is creating amazing opportunities for food entrepreneurs, social investors and space for innovative food businesses to start up and expand with the infrastructure to process, market and distribute locally grown food. 

We have a management process in place through our "Fifth Season Cooperative”, a multi-stakeholder cooperative made up of producers, food processors, workers, distributors, and buyers.

Rural communities can help win the future for all of America. The opportunity is historic. Regional food systems create jobs and new economic development. This is an infrastructure investment that will pay dividends and keep wealth in communities far into the future.

Our goal is to turn the food movement into action. We are creating a facility and a network that welcomes investors, grows food businesses and attracts food entrepreneurs to the coolest place in the world to locate a business!

Sue Noble is the Executive Director at the Vernon Economic Development Association in southwest Wisconsin, spearheading a remarkably comprehensive effort at economic development around local and regional food systems.