Grow Benzie will be offering an eight-week series of classes designed to inspire and guide participants in starting their own food product business.

The series will cover marketing, labeling, packaging, insurance, and getting retail ready. The classes will be held on Monday evenings, beginning Sept. 9 with a potluck at 5:30 p.m. followed by a presentation at 6:30 p.m. and Q & A.  All are welcome to attend any or all classes and at either time. Workshops are free. Donations are welcome. 

The following is the class listing with description:

Sept. 9: “How We Did It”The Story of Wee Bee Jammin’ from Bear Lake, MI.

Simone Scarpace will share her story from the first idea, to making the product at an incubator kitchen, to having her own store and distribution of her jam line and more. 

Sept. 16: “Marketing Part I: Your Label”  Pickle Print and Marketing from Traverse City, MI.

Marcus Christian will cover all aspects of labeling such as:

Should you do it yourself or hire someone? How to select what type of label? Die cut or not? Do you want a QR code? Will it be one product or do you think you’ll develop a product line? How to develop a brand?

Participants are encouraged to bring a copy of their label and to share it with the presenter for feedback. Note: this workshop is not designed to cover the food labeling requirements of the MDARD. These requirements will be covered briefly and resources for more information will be provided.

Sept. 23:  “Taking Reasonable Risks” – Insurance for your business Sue Webber from Webber Insurance, Benzonia, MI will discuss the type of insurance coverage to consider for your business, what to think about if you are running your business out of your own home, suggestions for getting the most reasonable rates and more.

Sept. 30: “Marketing Part II: Price? Package? Promotion?” – Case Study of Food for Thought.

Peter French with Timothy Young from Food for Thought will co-present overall marketing for your food product business.

Oct. 7: “Getting Started” – How to take the first steps.

Lisa Richter, kitchen manager of Grow Benzie’s Incubator Kitchen will explain the basic steps to getting started to making your food product in the incubator kitchen.

Oct. 14: To be announced.

Oct. 21: “I’ll sell your product.  – How to get retail ready. 

Alex Pineau from Evergreen Market, Williamsburg, MI will share the story on starting the local food- focused Evergreen market. He will help participants to get ready to wholesale and learn how to approach potential wholesale customers. Topics covered will include price sheets, sell sheets, website presence, and more.

Participants are encouraged to bring their product and any marketing materials they would bring with them to try to sell their product. Alex will provide feedback.

Oct. 28: “How to package your product.” – Glass or plastic? 8oz or 16 oz?  One-piece or two-piece lid?  

Mary and Terry from TM Klein & Sons from St. Charles, MI will discuss the various types, sizes, and shapes (and costs) of food-safe packaging. Bring your product and hear some ideas for packaging it from these experts.

All workshops will be held at Grow Benzie, 5885 M115/Frankfort Hwy, Benzonia, MI.

For more information, contact Director Deb Query by phone (231) 882-9510, by email, or visit

Grow Benzie is a community based farmstead dedicated to enriching the lives of children and all Benzie County residents by fostering independence and self reliance through education in agriculture, nutrition, job training and life skills. Grow Benzie is located at 5885 M115, Benzonia, MI 49616 and is a 501 3 (c) designated charity.