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The Last Green Valley QSHC Inc Connecting

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					                                                            The Last Green Valley
                                                                                       QSHC, Inc.




Connecting Farms to Purveyors in The Last Green Valley

The Quinebaug Shetucket Heritage Corridor, Inc. is requesting proposals from interested
consultants to conduct a Feasibility Study to determine whether new market links can be forged
between Corridor farmers and local restaurants, caterers, grocers, and similar retail outlets. The
Feasibility Study will provide a blueprint for establishing and “growing” a successful farm-to-
purveyor program in The Last Green Valley.

Background
The Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor, Inc. (QSHC) is the grassroots nonprofit
organization dedicated to conserving, celebrating, and enhancing the special qualities of The Last
Green Valley. This area is uniquely rural among heavily developed landscapes along the eastern
seaboard. Agriculture remains an important economic engine in the Corridor as well as a critical
component of the rural setting that defines our sense of place. From its inception, QSHC has
sought to promote and sustain an environmentally sound and economically viable agricultural
industry. One of the top priorities for QSHC’s Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee is
to encourage cooperative marketing possibilities and local markets for agriculture.

Goals and Objectives of the Feasibility Study
The purpose of this Study is to answer basic questions about the feasibility of establishing a
practical and cost-effective farm-to-purveyor program in The Last Green Valley. The Feasibility
Study will include a survey of small agricultural businesses in the Corridor to determine whether
and under what conditions they would be willing to sell more of their products through local
purveyors. The Study will also include a survey of small business purveyors (restaurants,
grocers, caterers, coops, farm stores, specialty market stores, and similar retail outlets) to
determine whether and under what conditions they would be able to market more locally-grown
and produced products. The Feasibility Study will enable purveyors and agricultural businesses
in the Corridor to better understand each others’ needs and constraints. The Feasibility Study
will also include research and lessons learned from other farm-to-market programs. If a farm-to-
purveyor program in the Corridor is determined to be feasible, the Study will provide
recommendations and an outline of concrete steps necessary to establish and maintain a
successful program.

Consultant Responsibilities
   a) Develop survey packages for agricultural businesses and purveyors, in consultation with
   the QSHC staff and Advisory Committee. The surveys should obtain information from
   farmers and producers on wholesale capacity, current distribution routes, preferred
   distribution and transaction methods, ability to provide quality control/assurance measures,
   and pricing structures. The survey should obtain information from purveyors on preferred

                          107 Providence Street, Putnam, CT 06260
                 860-963-7226, 860-928-2189 fax, www.thelastgreenvalley.org
                                                           The Last Green Valley
                                                                                      QSHC, Inc.




   products, quality control/assurance requirements, degree of flexibility in utilizing locally-
   grown products, preferred distribution and transaction methods, and pricing structures.
   b) Develop a plan and implement post-survey follow-up, through mailings, phone calls and
   personal visits, to ensure a representative sample is obtained from agricultural businesses and
   from purveyors.
   c) Research existing farm-to-market programs in other states, and as part of a draft
   Feasibility Study, provide insight and analysis of their applicability to The Last Green
   Valley. Can lessons learned elsewhere be translated to a successful program in the Corridor?
   d) Evaluate the survey results, and provide analysis and recommendations for a distribution
   system in the form of a draft Feasibility Study. If a Corridor-wide distribution system is
   deemed feasible, provide recommendations and a strategy for the next steps (which could
   include a pilot program) in establishing and operating a farm-to-purveyor program in The
   Last Green Valley.
   e) After review and comment by QSHC staff and Advisory Committee members, finalize the
   Feasibility Study.

QSHC Responsibilities:
  a) Coordinate Advisory Committee membership, meetings and input.
  b) Update QSHC’s database of agricultural business in the Corridor (approximately 400) and
  develop a database of restaurants, grocers, caterers, food coops, and similar small business
  retail markets (approximately 250).
  c) Print the survey package and mail to agricultural businesses and purveyors. The mailing
  will include copies of QSHC’s “Green and Growing Guide” so that all purveyors can be
  better informed about the wide variety and multiple sources of food products grown and
  produced in The Last Green Valley.
  d) Print the draft Feasibility Study and distribute for comment. Design and print the final
  Feasibility Study, and distribute widely.
  e) Publicize the project through press releases, web materials, local radio appearances, and
  outreach efforts at local fairs and expos.
  f) Evaluate the project, including the draft Feasibility Study, for its responsiveness to the
  goals, objectives, and specific work plan items described in this RFP.
  g) Develop and produce a “Tastes of the Valley” event showcasing locally grown and
  produced foods and products, and highlighting their creative use by Corridor chefs. If the
  Feasibility Study recommends the creation of a specific farm-to-purveyor program, the event
  will be used to jump start its establishment.




                         107 Providence Street, Putnam, CT 06260
                860-963-7226, 860-928-2189 fax, www.thelastgreenvalley.org
                                                                    The Last Green Valley
                                                                                                   QSHC, Inc.




Project Schedule
January 2008 – Choose agricultural marketing consultant(s) and sign contract(s).
February 2008 – Develop survey packages. Research existing farm-to-purveyor programs.
March 2008 – Distribute surveys to agricultural businesses and purveyors in early March.
Follow-up with agricultural businesses and purveyors (phone calls and visits if necessary) in late
March.
April 2008 – Compile and analyze survey results, produce Draft Feasibility Study.
May 2008 – Circulate draft Feasibility Study for comment.
June 2008 – Finalize Feasibility Study.
September 2008 – Host “Tastes of The Valley” special event showcasing locally grown and
produced foods and the purveyors that offer them.

Preferred Consultant Qualifications
Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of agricultural businesses and potential markets in
the Corridor; expertise in survey development and implementation; familiarity with farm-to-
market programs nationwide; demonstrated experience in developing or managing food
distribution systems; ability to complete project in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Maximum Obligation
QSHC, Inc. may award one or more contracts, with an expected total allocation ranging from
$13,000 to $17,000, depending on the quality and comprehensiveness of the proposals received.

Deadline
Please email your proposal as a Word attachment to ljbruinooge@thelastgreenvalley.org by 5:00
p.m. on Friday, January 25, 2008. Receipt of electronic proposals will be acknowledged. In the
alternative, please submit 3 copies of a written proposal to Lois Bruinooge, QSHC, 107
Providence Street, Putnam, CT 06260, postmarked or hand-delivered by Friday, January 25,
2008. Faxed submissions will not be accepted.




  QSHC is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed,
      disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


                           107 Providence Street, Putnam, CT 06260
                  860-963-7226, 860-928-2189 fax, www.thelastgreenvalley.org

				
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