Article by: Nicholas Ouellette
In 2019, CEDA had the opportunity to conduct research and create a report on the Cannon Roots project for the City of Cannon Falls. The Cannon Roots project represents a community-wide mission and brand for local foods producers, businesses, and residents of Cannon Falls to establish the city as a go-to food destination in the region. CEDA team members found the prospect of creating a plan for the food economy intriguing. Agricultural and good businesses are intertwined with our personal and work lives, and not to mention integral to the livelihoods of many Minnesotans.
As part of the research process, CEDA team members Courtney Bergey-Swanson and Nicholas Ouellette conducted site visits in Cannon Falls. The site visit was important as they allow the CEDA team to develop a deeper understanding of the local food economy in Cannon Falls. Swanson and Ouellette also conducted interviews with local food economy leaders. Determining the local perspectives on the Cannon Falls food economy, as well as local attitudes towards growth and brand development, was important so the final report and recommended actions reflect the values and aspirations of the Cannon Falls community.
The aim of the report, submitted in September, is to provide objectives and actionable items for Cannon Falls to consider for the foundation and long-term success of Cannon Roots and the food economy in Cannon Falls. Some key aspects of the plan include recommendations for local engagement, tourism, foods sector infrastructure, business assistance, and beautification/signage projects amongst a total of 30 objectives and 80 actionable items outlined in the report. The CEDA team appreciates the opportunity we had to work on Cannon Roots, and are excited for the opportunities it presents to local foods businesses and the City of Cannon Falls!