Rural Fresh Markets
|Submitted By:||Western Illinois University, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs|
|Program Info:||Learn More|
The Rural Fresh Markets program is designed to address the issue of the growing number of food deserts in Rural America. It uses a combination solid business practices, community social capital, and two decades of retail experience to create economically self-sustaining businesses that provide access to fresh food in communities that no longer have a fresh food retailer. These businesses are owned and operated by the community, for the community, and do not require continual financial support in the form of grants or donations.
W.I.U.’s Rural Fresh Market’s program acts as a business consultant for the communities’ efforts, providing guidance in board creation, business planning, financial projections, marketing, management, equipment selection and store layout. In addition, the RFM program provides ongoing advisement for store managers and board members to ensure the greatest chance for success.
Whenever possible the RFM program incorporates existing community businesses to increase social capital and provide a greater economic impact for the community. And, if a suitable location is available, a historic building is remodeled for the use of the business in order to increase property values, maintain the character of the community, and lessen the burden of dilapidated buildings on small municipalities. This provides another way for the community’s investment to have maximum impact.