i-Three Issue Corps 2016 – Growing Alaska’s Food Entrepreneurs

Kathryn Idzorek

Small Food Business Training and Development Coordinator

University of Alaska, Cooperative Extension Service


 Update: Kate left Extension for a new job in June 2016

What is the change you are designing to achieve?

Increase access to training for small food business conceptualization and development.

How will you measure that change?

Number of individuals who take the class in the online form, location of participants compared to previous live taught classes (via zoom) and I will also survey them 9-12 months after taking the online course to learn behavior change.

What is the innovative component or strategy you will implement as a result of the design-a-thon?

Creative story telling for impacts utilizing story mapping techniques, design thinking — not so much for my project itself — but as a way to conceptualize and carry-out the online course for students. Using social networking to create a private space for food business owners throughout Alaska to share ideas, successes, failures, opportunities or anything else on their mind. It can connect them to help each other out in a way that is not easy with great geographic distance.

How did the design-a-thon help you?

It introduced me to new ways to care! Evaluation is one thing but creative story telling (through story-mapping) of successes and impacts is another! It makes it exciting for ME to take the time to do it knowing that an engaging result will be available to publicize and promote our work and extension. Utilizing design thinking is the most innovative way I have found to try to engage my audience in creating their business idea in a way that they can conceptualize and, ideally, enjoy! This motivates me to develop this on-line, on-demand course ASAP and get it out to the public. Unrelated to the design-a-thon, John Stepper’s work would be useful in developing a sound platform for small food businesses to help each other develop well rounded business management strategies and support when they are trying to be the one who is doing it all.


I hope to increase visibility of Alaska’s resources, trainings and food business led projects for potential food entrepreneurs across the state. I will also improve my methods to collect and share the impact of these services and the successes of our blossoming Alaska food entrepreneurs.

Project Blog Posts

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