Successfully find customers for your food business, as part of 8-week virtual webinar series

Do you know who your typical customer is? Attend the webinar on Monday, April 24, at 1pm, titled, “Successfully Find Customers for Your Food Business: Lessons from a Wisconsin Food Cooperative,” where we’ll hear from Kelly Maynard, Co-op Development Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Cooperatives, and FL Morris of the successful South Central Wisconsin Hemp Co-op. 

Kelly Maynard is a Cooperative Development Specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives (UWCC). UWCC was founded in 1962 and is a trusted and unbiased voice on the cooperative business model serving the needs of cooperatives in Wisconsin and beyond. With a strong public service orientation and access to world-class university resources, they leverage research, education, and outreach capabilities to foster critical thinking and understanding about cooperatives. As the only U.S. university-based center that studies and supports all forms of cooperative business, UWCC provides valued education and research to a diverse range of business communities. 

UWCC’s team of cooperative development specialists is available to help you start a new co-op, strengthen an established co-op, or convert an existing business to the cooperative structure. If you are located in a rural area of Wisconsin, technical assistance may be covered by our USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant.

FL Morris co-founded South Central Wisconsin Hemp Co-op February 14, 2019, focusing on production and marketing of high quality CBD Hemp. FL also has 18 years experience in vegetable/livestock production and sales.  

A coalition of local, organic CBD hemp farmers, South Central Hemp is committed to the following principles of cooperative business: Equity, Transparency, Democratic Member Control, Education, Member Engagement, Cooperation among Co-ops, and a deep Concern for Community. The South Central Hemp Co-op team of producers includes teachers, artists, community activists and advocates, chefs, engineers, veterans, retirees, public officials, new and lifelong farmers.

The UW-Madison Extension Community Food Systems Program is providing no-cost virtual workshops for small-scale food and farming business start-ups every week from March 9th to April 24th

Register for this event, and the rest of the 2023 Spring FEED Webinar Series online at: All workshops are free to the public and will be hosted on Zoom. 

The entire webinar series includes the following sessions: 

The first webinar was on Thursday, March 9 at 6pm, The Sweet Taste of Success: Safe, Value-Added, Maple Products.” We heard from Bill Klase from the UW-Madison, Division of Extension Maple Sugar Program, and from UW-Madison Professor of Food Science, Barbara Ingham, for guidance on food safety planning for food businesses using maple sugar in products such as maple-flavored sauces and dressings, sparkling maple water, and infused maple syrup. 

The second webinar was held on Monday, March 13 at 10am, “Selling at the Farmers Market: Case Study of Selling Eggs at the local Farmers Market.” We heard from Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Food Safety Specialist, an insurance expert from Wallace Cooper & Elliot, and a representative of the Wisconsin Farmers Market Association to learn about how to start the process of becoming a farmers market vendor, using an example of a small-scale chicken farmer selling eggs at their local market. 

The third webinar was held on Monday, March 20, at 1pm, “Starting a Mobile Food Business: Working with a Shared-Use Kitchen.” We heard from the director of the FEED Kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin, Chris Brockel, and the owner of Café Costa Rica and Mango Man Salsa about how using a shared-use kitchen can help your food business get started. 

The fourth webinar was held on Monday, March 27, at 10am, “Getting Your Product on Shelves at Your Local Food Coop.” We heard from Chequamegon Bay Food Coop’s Marketing and Membership Coordinator Sara Beadle and the owners of Hermit Creek Farm about how to sell food products at your local food retail cooperative. 

The fifth webinar was held on Monday, April 3, at 1pm. In the session titled “Getting to Know Your Local Small Business Development Center (SBDC)” we heard from SBDC Business Consultant David Stauffacher about how to work with your local SBDC and how SBDCs across Wisconsin help food entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. 

The sixth webinar was on Monday, April 10, at 10am, titled “Navigating Business Resources with the Help of Your Local Business Incubator.” The Community Manager of Co-Lab Adam Accola shared how to navigate resources in the business ideation, startup, and growth stages of business development. 

The seventh webinar was on Monday, April 17 at 10am, titled “Local Foods – Safe Foods: Starting a Farm- or Home-Based Food Business in Wisconsin.” UW-Madison Professor of Food Science Barbara Ingham shared information on food safety for products made at your farm or home.

The eighth and final webinar is on Monday, April 24, at 1pm. In the session titled “Successfully Find Customers for Your Food Business: Lessons from a Wisconsin Food Cooperative,” we’ll hear from Kelly Maynard, Co-op Development Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Cooperatives, and a successful local food cooperative about how they found customers when launching their food business and how they have continued to build their customer base while growing the business. 

Registration for the event is available online at:

For additional information about the workshops email Jessica Jane Spayde, Food Entrepreneurship Specialist at the Community Food Systems Program at the UW-Madison Division of Extension, at

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