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Food Entrepreneurship

How to Start a Food Business

Do you know how to start or grow a successful food business? Inspection, labeling, safety and other regulations come into play. Here, find information on federal guidelines and regulations, as well as tips for operating different types of food businesses, including food service and retail, food production, farmers markets, and agritourism.

Federal Guidance and Regulations

Guidance & Regulation (Food and Dietary Supplements)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides guidance and regulatory information on topics including the Food Safety Modernization Act, food labeling, and allergens.

Compliance Guidance

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides guidance for all foods it regulates. These guidelines include food inspection, labeling, retail, safety and more.

Food Entrepreneurship Learning Modules

Lessons on food entrepreneurship topics, including product pricing, marketing, food labeling, and farmers markets can be found at the North Dakota State University Extension.

Resources by Business Type


AgriTourism (
​​​​​​​USDA. National Agricultural Library.


Farmers Markets

Farmers Market Promotion Program
USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Local and Regional Food Sector
USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Farm Direct Incentives Guide
USDA. NIFA. GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Hub; Farmers Market Coalition; Michigan Farmers Market Association. 

How To Be Successful At A Farmers’ Market
Colorado State University Extension.

Building an On-Farm Market
PennState Extension.

Five Steps for Founding a New Farmers Market
South Dakota State University Extension.

Selling Farm Products at Farmers Markets [PDF, 1.6 MB]
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Local Food Systems
National Agricultural Law Center.

How to Run a Farmers Market
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

Farm to Table: Building Local and Regional Food Systems
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit
Vermont Law School. Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.

Food Production

Producing a Food Product That is Regulated by FDA
HHS. Food and Drug Administration.

Starting a Food Business
Clemson Cooperative Extension.

7 Ways to Quickly Grow Your Food Business
Mississippi State University Extension.

A Guide to Developing a Social Media Strategy for Ag Entrepreneurs
PennState Extension.

Commercial Food Processing
PennState Extension.

Food for Profit Series
PennState Extension.

Introduction to Food Production and Service Textbook
Penn State University. School of Hospitality Management. 

Cornell Food Venture Center
Cornell University. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

National Food Entrepreneur Program
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Food Processing Center.

Best Practices for Operating a Food Business Out of a Shared Space
University of Wisconsin. Madison Extension.

Food Retail

Food Service Industry
USDA. Economic Research Service.

Food Service Guidelines
HHS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Food Service Guidelines Implementation Toolkit
HHS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Healthier Food Retail (HFR) Action Guide
HHS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Menu and Vending Machine Labeling
HHS. Food and Drug Administration.

Retail Food Protection
HHS. Food and Drug Administration.

Create a Culture of Food Safety
PennState Extension.

Training Tips for Managers
PennState Extension.

Restaurant Management Operations Checklist
University of Nebraska. Lincoln Extension.

Restaurant Success: It All Starts with the Menu
University of Nevada, Reno Extension.

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