Farm to table: OSU Extension launches online Food Business Central

Are you a baker ready to sell your home-baked goods? How about a farmer looking for value-added opportunities for crops you’ve grown or livestock you’ve raised? Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur aiming to use local agricultural products to make value-added foods?

If so, then the new Food Business Central online course offered by OSU Extension can help equip you with the knowledge and strategies to launch a successful farm-raised or homebased food business in Ohio.

Created by members of OSU Extension’s family and consumer sciences (FCS), the online course is designed to serve as a centralized hub to connect participants to information and resources regarding all types of food products they might want to make and sell, said Emily Marrison, OSU Extension educator, FCS, and course development team member.

“Navigating food regulations, establishing a new business, and applying best practices for food safety can be challenges for food entrepreneurs,” she said. “Many people interested in starting a food business aren’t sure where to turn first.”

“Additionally, this course can help you develop a food business action plan and learn what you need to start off organized, safe, compliant, and strategic.”

The self-paced course contains 10 modules — five of which focus on Ohio food laws, food safety basics, legal startup and insurance, and marketing and economics. The other five modules focus on foods including cottage foods and baked goods, canned foods, meat, poultry, eggs, and other foods such as beverages, dairy products, syrups, and more.

“Throughout the course, participants will consider key questions and develop action steps to take on their journey to start a food business,” Marrison said. “As food entrepreneurs complete the course, they’ll be able to complete a business plan with help from their local small business development centers.”

The course development was partially funded through a grant from North Central Extension Risk Management Education through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop resources that help farmers and ranchers effectively manage risk in their operations.

The course costs $25, and registration is at