Resources for NYC Entrepreneurial Foodies

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Attention all aspiring food entrepreneurs!

Now is a fantastic and exciting time to launch and grow a food business in NYC. Due to growing consumer interest in local and artisan-quality foods, the five boroughs are seeing a surge of activity around food manufacturing and distribution.

According to a Pratt Center study on the specialty food industry commissioned by the City Council and released in August of 2013, the number of specialty food and beverage manufacturers in NYC has grown by more than 11 percent since 2008, and the City Council is committed to supporting continued growth.

Below are some recent highlights and new resources of interest to those of you with a passion for edible goods.

Fare Trade NYC: The Artisan Food Entrepreneurs Alliance

Founded by a group of local food producers, Fare Trade NYC is building a community of food entrepreneurs in NYC who can help launch, refine, and grow your food business. Fare Trade NYC is a membership-based organization, in which members come together to exchange information and share resources. This is a great organization to join if you are just getting started with your business.

More information can be found online at:

Made in NYC

This is an initiative of the Pratt Center for Community Development and is focused on supporting the manufacturing sector in New York City, including the manufacture of food. Through Made in NYC’s resources, producers can get sourcing assistance as well as help finding production space. They can also use the Made in NYC logo to educate and engage consumers. This is the perfect organization to contact if your food product is challenging to manufacture and you need assistance scaling up.

More information can be found online at:

Made in Brooklyn

A project of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, products that are made (or partially made) in the borough of Brooklyn can apply for the “Made in Brooklyn” stamp of approval. There is also a contest acknowledging these Brooklyn businesses.  Winners, selected at the end of October, will receive media attention and a chance to display their products at high profile events.

More information can be found online at:

6th Borough Society

This is a networking platform for emerging consumer brands to leverage growth collaboratively and scale from urban environments.  Primarily focused on food, this network is also made up of makers, technology experts, and business advisors.   Currently, the group is actively posting helpful updates and information on Facebook as well as hosting networking events for food producers in NYC.

More information can be found online at:

Credibles by Slow Money

Credibles is an exciting new crowd-funding platform for small, sustainable food-related businesses. Using the site, emerging companies can “pre-sell” new products to food enthusiasts and small investors.  This means that a product launch can be completely funded in advance, and an audience of consumers is ready and waiting for the product when it is completed. This is a great tool for promoting a new item and funding its production.  And, unlike other crowd-funding sites, Credibles is tailored specifically for the food community.

More information can be found online at:

Upstate/Downstate Co-Packing Initiative

New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is spearheading an initiative to bring together downstate food producers with upstate co-packers. Brindisi identified that many NYC producers, who do not have space to manufacture within the Five Boroughs, are going to neighboring states in order to expand. Brindisi is working to keep NYC producers within the state by connecting them with upstate co-packers, specifically in the Mohawk Valley, who have the proper manufacturing capabilities. The launch of this initiative is expected by winter, 2013. Food producers seeking a co-packing facility should get in touch with Assemblyman Brindisi’s office.

More information can be found online at:

Brooklyn Food and Beverage Distribution Cooperative

One of the greatest challenges to small food producers is product delivery and distribution. In response to this challenge, and the feedback of dozens of local producers, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce I&M Coalition recently submitted a proposal to the New York City Economic Development Corporation for the creation of a Brooklyn Food and Beverage Distribution Cooperative. This Co-op would streamline the distribution process for small producers and would help them grow sales while still in the start-up phase. The food community is awaiting news about the progress of this initiative, but hopes are high that this proposal will be approved.

More information can be found online at:


Elizabeth Alpern, Field Fellow and Founder of The Gefilteria