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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.

Farmers Market Resource Manual

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.

Healthy Food Environments
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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