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Daisy Plants itself in Wooster

July 11, 2013 in economic development, News

From The Daily Record
by Bobby Warren 

“Months of speculation regarding whether an agbioscience company would locate here officially ended Monday when the state’s tax credit authority granted Daisy Brand, a maker of sour cream and cottage cheese, incentives.

Until Monday, local leaders would only refer to the pending Daisy deal as Project Cream. It all began with a cold call in May 2012.

The Wayne Economic Development Council received a call from the company. There had been a search in the Great Lakes region for a new plant site because of the strong presence of dairy farms and dairy market, said Shawn Starlin, a project manager for WEDC. States that were being considered included Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Company officials did their homework, Starlin said. In determining who to call, they looked at dairy statistics. Wayne County far exceeds all Ohio counties with its production of 600 million pounds of milk annually.

“It’s impressive,” Starlin said.

There were 77,700 cows in Wayne, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Stark and Medina counties as of January 2012. Wayne County has 32,500 of the cows, or 41 percent. The next closest is Holmes with 16,900.

But it took more than impressive dairy numbers to get it done. Company officials visited this area repeatedly, meeting with city and county leaders, economic development officials and utility representatives. They had site visits to the former First Farm along Akron Road next to LuK USA to make sure it would be suitable for a new production facility.

Daisy’s executives were looking for something else, too, something less tangible.

“They wanted to look at a facility in a small town or one with small-town values,” Starlin said…”

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Local Roots

June 13, 2013 in Environment, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability

Northeast Ohio has become somewhat of an epicenter of the local foods movement in the United States. From innovative urban agricultural zoning in Youngstown and Cleveland, to recognition of its historic and independent open markets (e.g. West Side Market in Cleveland), to entrepreneurial efforts to integrate local farming and markets in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to future planning to increase local food growth, retailing, marketing and processing,[1] the region has set an example for other areas of the Midwest and the nation to follow. The case for local food has been made by many organizations, citing how local food means:[2]

  • Better quality: Fresher, picked at the peak of flavor, and it loses fewer nutrients in transport.
  • Better for the environment: Uses fewer fossil fuels in transportation, fewer chemicals for farming and promotes biological diversity.
  • Better for the economy: Invest in local business, and they’ll invest locally, too. And eating seasonally means food is less expensive, putting money back into your pocket.
  • Better for the community: Get to know who grows your food, and share ideas for growing and cooking with fellow local-foods lovers!

Local Roots Market and Café (and soon to also be Kitchen Incubator) has become a wonderful example of the evolution of the local food movement in Northeast Ohio. The concept began to emerge in Wooster (Wayne County) in February 2009 when people who were interested in

helping to make local food more accessible began to connect with one another and brainstorm how this could be best be accomplished. Meetings were held weekly to plan the development of what would become the Wooster Local Foods Cooperative, eventually doing business as Local Roots Market and Cafe.[3]

On Jan 30, 2010, almost exactly 1 year from those first meetings, the Local Roots Market & Café officially opened for business. According to their website,[4] the market has grown from being open only Saturday to six days a week. In October 2010, funds received from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) were put towards the completion of a small, but commercially licensed kitchen facility.  This was completed in June 2011. In July 2011, Local Roots received notification of a grant from Rural Development/USDA for $99,500 to complete the full commercial kitchen facility.  The kitchen will allow producers to further process and preserve products for sale in the market. The April/May 2013 Newsletter, “Roots Cellar,” announced the installation of a 14’x10’ freezer by a volunteer group known as “The Kitchen Crew.” The Crew also completed the plumbing trenches with help from College of Wooster and Ashland University students.[5]

For more information about Local Roots Market & Café, please email info@LocalRootsWooster.com. The Market is located at 140 South Walnut Street in Wooster.

Local Roots Steering Committee Members from left to right: John Drouhard (Electrician, WCSEN), Keith Speirs (Architect, WCSEN), Dave Benchoff (OEFFA Board Member, Farmer), Jen Hugon (Graphic Artist), Jennifer McMullen (Writer), Marlene Barkheimer (Bank President), Jessica (Barkheimer) Eikleberry (Business/Computer Systems), John Anderson (Poultry Researcher – OARDC), Monica Bongue (OEFFA Member, PhD Biochemistry, Farmer), Betsy Anderson (Entomologist – OARDC, Former Professional Baker), Bill Boyer (HS Teacher, Gardener), Marlene Boyer (Family & Consumer Sciences HS Teacher)


[1] Masi, B., Schaller, L., and Shuman, M. (2010). The 25% Shift: The benefits of food localization for Northeast Ohio and how to realize them. Cleveland, OH and Silver Spring, MD: Cleveland Foundation, ParkWorks, Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Neighborhood Progress Inc., Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

[2] Local Roots Market & Café: Why Local? (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/why-local).

[3] Local Roots Market & Café: History (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/history).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Local Roots Market & Café. (April/May 2013). The Roots Cellar Newsletter (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/LRAprilMay2013.pdf).