by Kathy Ursprung
THE DALLES, Ore. — The Port of The Dalles is exploring the idea of building a food start-up production facility to enhance the regional economy through value-added agriculture, and is seeking survey responses from growers, processors and other food businesses.
The Food LAB User Survey is designed to identify existing or future food business operators who may be interested in using the facility in one or more of several different ways, including:
- use of a shared kitchen,
- leasing small-scale production spaces,
- co-packing services,
- other food-related business services.
Wasco County has a strong concentration of agriculture and food production. Agriculture alone accounts for almost $94 million (2017) in market value of products sold, the largest component of the Wasco County economy.
“The port has found that one of the most effective ways to enhance the local economy is to build on its existing strengths,” says Kathy Ursprung, project manager for the food building. “Rather than just selling our crops to facilities outside the local area for food production, if we can produce those foods here—for example by turning raw fruit into prepared ice cream ingredients or grapes into wine, as some local businesses do, then we are creating more local income and jobs.”
Survey responses are due by June 28. Results will be used as part of a larger study to determine whether to move forward with facility construction.