Professionally Developed Feasibility Studies
Midwest Elderberry Cooperative commissioned several professional feasibility studies and a business plan from Cooperative Development Services (CDS) with the help from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Value Added Grant Program and the North Central Regional SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program. Since 1985, CDS has helped existing cooperatives retain their vitality and plan for future growth opportunities. CDS also contracts with new cooperatives and organizations operating in a cooperative manner to launch new business ventures and plan for long-term viability. Learn more about CDS at their web site.
While full access to most of these studies is restricted to members and/or other developing grower cooperatives at the discretion of MEC’s Board of Directors, we provide printable summaries here for all to read. This open publication partially fulfills our obligation to share the results with the public and interested potential growers. We encourage anyone interested in becoming a member of MEC to read them and attend one of our workshops.
Feasibility Study/Grant Report Links
Midwest (Minnesota) Elderberry Cooperative
Midwest Elderberry Cooperative Feasibility Study Assessing Market Opportunities and Commercial Applications for Certified Organic Operations - Summary Report (truncated/edited pdf for public download)
SARE Grant 2013 Report on Developing Commercial Elderberry Production in Minnesota. Click on the link, Search Projects, enter FNC13-925 into the search string field.
On April 14, 2020 MEC was awarded a $24,000.00 matching grant from the MN Department of Agriculture Value-Added Grant program toward’s towards the purchase ($96,000) of multiple mobile elderberry destemming solutions over three years. These stainless steel Destemmers will meet state and federal requirements to safely remove the small berries from the cyme for resale in the wholesale market – usually 25 lb. frozen berries in 4 gallon, food grade buckets.
On October 1, 2015 MEC was awarded a Value-Added Producer Grant of $30,000 from the USDA. MEC has retained Cooperative Development Services to conduct a feasibility and market study for the Midwest production of Certified Organic Dried Elderberry and Elderflower ingredients for the national and global marketplace. The undertaking of this feasibility study has been undertaken in part with the appreciated support of Frontier Coop in North Liberty, IA.
On January 9, 2015 MEC was awarded a $3,418.75 matching grant from the MN Department of Agriculture Value-Added Grant program toward’s towards the purchase ($13,675) and installation of mobile elderberry processing equipment consisting of one of Terry’s Destemmers, associated tools/equipment and a stainless washing-sanitation system that will meet state and federal requirements to safely process elderberries for resale in the wholesale market – 25 lb. frozen berries in 4 gallon, food grade buckets.
In December 2013 MEC was awarded an additional $11,000 matching grant from the MN Department of Agriculture Value-Added Grant program to help it develop a business plan building on the successful feasibility study. The commercial aspects of the business plan were successfully completed in October, 2014 with positive prospects.
In March 2013 MEC received a $14,980 SARE grant for “Developing Commercial Elderberry Production in Minnesota.”
In early February 2013, Minnesota Elderberry Cooperative received a $5000 matching grant from the MN Department of Agriculture Value-Added Grant program. The feasibility for converting Minnesota Grown elderberries into juice, wine and other value-added products was successfully completed with a positive outcome by CDS in October 2013.