As world leaders address the increasing challenge of feeding the earth’s population, Orange County is providing entrepreneurs with both the inspiration and the resources to find solutions. Orange County Economic Development is dedicated to encouraging the establishment of new business while providing for the growth of existing industries, with a particular focus on agricultural enterprises. Agriculture is a vital part of the economy and quality of life in Orange County.
To support this dynamic aspect of Orange County’s economic development program, we are able to offer the services of an Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator on staff. This position supports the creation, continuation and expansion of agricultural businesses within Orange County for the benefit of all its residents. In addition to manpower, the county is also developing the resources that will provide real growth opportunities to start up Agri-industry companies. One such resource is the Piedmont Food and Ag Processing Center, or PFAP.
Orange County Farms
Our focus on agriculture means working not only with food industry businesses, but with the community as well. One example, for instance, is the Orange County Farms program. Orange County Economic Development utilizes this program to educate consumers on the benefits of local products, and foster the growth of local farming enterprises in the Orange County region. Why is this important? Supporting local family farms helps build a stronger community, strengthens the local economy and, in general, yields products that are superior in taste and freshness.
Piedmont Food Processing Center
The Piedmont Food Processing Center is a food business incubator that enables entrepreneurs in the food industry – from farmers to restaurateurs – to produce value-added foods and farm products for wholesale and retail markets. This shared-use, commercial food production and processing facility allows clients to research the potential commercial distribution of innovative new food products. Freezer and refrigerated space, ovens, bottling and packaging machinery… all are available for rent on an hourly basis for research and testing purposes. Also available through PFAP are training workshops and seminars designed to help entrepreneurs launch their food-related business, whether restaurant, specialty food product manufacturer and marketer, or retail grocer.
Orange County Food Council
A food council is a group made up of representatives from the different parts of the local foods system, including consumers, producers, processors, retailers, local decision-makers, and other stakeholders including those working on environmental sustainability, health, food access, social equity, and animal welfare. Every food council organizes in its own unique way, but most focus on assessing the local food system, identifying and bridging gaps in the system, and developing key linkages in the region and across the state.