Value-Added Producers’ Mentorship Program at Taproot

According to the USDA, “Value-added products are raw agricultural products that have been modified or enhanced to have a higher market value and/or a longer shelf life.”

Taproot, supported by a USDA AMS Local Food Promotion Program grant, is kicking off a mentorship program for farmer and value-added food producers. We are encouraging San Juan Island food enthusiasts to get the help they need to navigate the challenges and joys of food product creation. Mentees will gather direction and support on the topics of food safety, business set-up, pricing, marketing, as well as navigating the ins and outs of WSDA and SJC Health requirements.

We’ve lined up mentors from various food related businesses — Jean with Vortex, Randall with Chicaoji, and Brady with SJI Sea Salt — who can advise you on your ideas, give you guidance by sharing their process and help foster your ideas! Rich Youde is helping us as a new business mentor — making bookkeeping manageable and lending a helping hand as you dive into the many layers of business paperwork.

Product Development & Food Safety Workshop — October 18 and 19, 2023

And mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 18 and Thursday, October 19. Dr. Girish Ganjyal, WSU Food Processing Specialist, will be hosting a two day workshop on Lopez for potential value-added producers. Day one will focus on product development for value-added foods and day two will focus on developing a food safety plan. Please check back soon for registration details! 30 students max.

Get $$ to help you start!

Wait, there’s more! Taproot’s mentorship program is set up to help financially support your business goals. The program is funded by a USDA grant focused on local food production and we have built in stipends to help pay for start-up business costs, SJC and WSDA permits as well as go towards research and development.

Equipment and Working Space Available at Taproot

Taproot is a shared-use commercial food processing kitchen. We have a newly installed dishwasher, vegetable and meat prep sinks, plenty of working space plus dry, cold, and freezer storage. We also have a wide range of processing equipment to make, bottle, and label your value-added foods.

Let’s Schedule a Time Discuss the Program!

If you are interested in starting your own food related business or growing one that you already have please fill out our Taproot Kitchen Mentorship Program Application and then contact Laurie Bullock, our Outreach Manager & Mentorship Program Admin, directly at

One of the best ways to create well paying jobs in San Juan County is to foster strong connections between food and land stewardship that sustain the physical health and economic well being of our community. Taproot is committed to achieving this goal.

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