For my first internship with TCEDC I wrote a blog post about TCEDC relating to foodshed. I maintain that foodshed is the most important and relevant commonwealth asset to TCEDC. That being said, TCEDC isn’t just about food; we’re also about providing education opportunities to our community. The main educational aspect here at TCEDC is the Food Sector opportunity program (FSOP) classes. These twice-yearly classes provide new food entrepreneurs with access to lectures from a variety of food experts, environment department workers, and even FSOP food business alumni. The scope of the lectures is vast, covering everything from “How do I make sure my product is made safely according to FDA guidelines?” to “How to package and label my food?” and even to “How do I get my product out there and start making money?” (it’s not all about the money of course, but hey it is called a food business).
The scope of the FSOP classes is definitely wide, and is a very important part of education for our community and even for people from out of state. The most recent FSOP class occurred at the beginning of my first internship and the students included several individuals from Montana. In fact, people from over 8 different states have attended the free FSOP classes.
All this being said, the FSOP classes are not the only way we educate our community. Every day people call or walk in to inquire about starting a business or filling out forms for permits etc. Additionally Pati and Terrie (the directors) often travel and give presentations about what we do at TCEDC as well as the importance of Native food sovereignty. TCEDC is more than a “food place”, it is also an educational resource here in Taos.