The Wisconsin Local Food Network

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Thank you for visiting the Wisconsin Local Food Network’s (WLFN) website.

The WLFN is a collection of individuals and organizations (hopefully you) that all share a common vision for Wisconsin: a state that offers communities and businesses a local food system that supports sustainable farms of all sizes, a strong infrastructure for those farms and supporting food business to thrive, and affordable access to healthy locally grown food for ALL Wisconsin residents. If you support this vision and are working toward such a Wisconsin – then you are a part of the Wisconsin Local Food Network.

You may be wondering, “But what does the WLFN do?” And it would be a great question.

In the fewest words possible: We help local food businesses (whether a farm, a processor, a distributor, a restaurant, a farmers market, or a grocery store) thrive!

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Memorial for local foods crusader to take place August 6

July 23, 2014  http://www.americantowns.com/il/dekalb/news/memorial-for-local-foods-crusader-to-take-place-august-6-19883310

Sandra Streed

Sandra Streed

Her colleagues at NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies knew that Sandra Streed had a lot of connections, but they didn’t fully recognize Streed’s stature in Chicago-area social justice movements until after her unexpected death last month.

“Sandra was so modest, she never told us the extent of her involvement or the circles she ran in,” said CGS Director Diana Robinson. “After her passing, we learned about things such as the overseas economic development trips she took with (former Chicago) Mayor Daley and the key role she played in creating the successful health sciences incubator iBio. She was an integral part of many very high-profile projects, but she always downplayed her own involvement.”

Streed’s NIU colleagues and her many admirers from throughout the region will honor her legacy at noon on August 6  when they dedicate a memorial to her in the Communiversity Gardens east of Anderson Hall at 200 Garden Road. All community members are welcome. Continue reading

Taking Root: New Life in Oshkosh’s Food Desert

July 1, 2014 in Features, Food & Drink, Oshkosh

By Paul Van Auken

“Very depressing.” That is how Elizabeth Barron described her feelings about the grocery store landscape in Oshkosh after arriving last summer from Boston, which she called an organic food “mecca.”

“I think I actually broke down in the store a bit on my first trip to Pick ‘n Save,” Barron said.

Not only was it hard to find the types of food she was used to, but she was also surprised by other realities of the local food system. “Cost of living is supposed to be cheaper here, but it’s actually not, at least in terms of organic food,” Barron said. “There isn’t much selection and what is available is expensive.”

After about a year in town, she has now adjusted and figured out how to get most of what she needs, at places like Festival Foods and NDC, but wishes the prices were better.

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Project to evaluate how farmers markets benefit communities

July 9, 2014

A new project in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Farmer’s Market Coalition will analyze the impact of farmers markets in communities.

Alfonso Morales, associate professor in urban and regional planning, secured funding through the USDA to advance the Farmers Market Metrics Project, which will allow him and his team to develop practical tools for evaluating farmers markets and communicate impacts to local, regional and national stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to grow a knowledge base about optimal impacts of markets on communities.

“Marketplaces have a rich history serving many functions in communities and this project helps us understand those functions and will assist market masters and market management in advancing the goals of the market and the community,” Morales says.

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Schools, distributors and farmers to get funding for local food technical assistance

Release Date: June 13, 2014                          

Media Contact:  Ann Marie Ames 608-224-5041   annmarie.ames@wi.gov

Jim Dick, Communications Director, 608-224-5020 or jim.dick@wi.gov

MADISON –Seventeen Wisconsin schools, farms and food distributors will get one-on-one professional help to expand local markets, improve profitability and increase the amount of local food going in to local markets. The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) worked with Transform Wisconsin to administer awards totaling $47,000 to three food distributors, six schools or school districts, and eight food producers.

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Crowd sourcing campaign to help launch the 2nd season of Around the Farm Table

Short Summary

Moo Land Productions LLC, the production company behind Around the Farm Table, is in production of season two.  We have been creating this show for over three years now, and we are finally getting our message to a bigger market — IF we can complete all 13 episodes.  This means we need to finish shooting 5 more episodes, as well as post-production on the entire 8 new episodes.   Including the 5 episodes from last year, we will have a total of 13 episodes, allowing us to air in several new markets.  

The message of our show is simple. Put farmers back in the minds of people eating food.  Our goal is to put these farmers on the map and keep them there.   

Learn more: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/around-the-farm-table-season-2

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Healthcare Rebates Among Leading Green Innovations

CONTACT:
Chris Brockel, Executive Director, FairShare CSA Coalition: (608) 226-0300 or chris@csacoalition.org
Marie Louise Gorvild, Communications Manager, Sustainia:mlg@mm.dk / +45 61709104
 
RESOURCES:
The full Sustainia100 publication with 100 case studies: 
http://www.sustainia.me/resources/publications/3rd_sustainia100_2014.pdf
 
JUNE 16, 2014 – Today, Scandinavian think tank SUSTAINIA, released a study of 100 leading sustainability innovations deployed on global markets. FairShare CSA Coalition based in Madison, WI, was selected for its state-of-the-art innovation in partnering with regional healthcare providers to provide healthy living rebates to customers signing up to receive community supported agriculture shares from local farms.

Consumers Buying More Goods Directly From Farmers In Wisconsin

Wisconsin Farms Selling Produce Directly, However, Has Shrunk By 6 Percent Since 2007

Consumers are increasingly buying more produce, dairy, and meat directly from Wisconsin farmers, according to the latest federal Census of Agriculture.

The local food movement is alive and well in Vernon County. In 2012, its farmers sold almost $2.7 million worth of products directly to consumers – nearly twice as much as what was sold in 2007, when producers made $1.4 million at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and through CSAs.

Vernon County is second in direct sales to Dane County.

Viroqua Farmers Market manager Kaitlyn Karasek says the high concentration of organic farms in the county plays a role in the high direct sales. She says consumers and producers are also more closely connected.

“It’s super important for our community that we continue this, because then all of the sales are staying local and it’s just going to continue to grow, continue to boom,” Karasek said. “It’ll encourage more people to maybe consider farming, or maybe even shop more locally.”

According to the census, the number of Wisconsin farms selling products directly has shrunk about 6 percent since 2007, but the value of direct sales was up across the state.

Steven Deller, a community development economist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, says although more people are buying directly from farmers, the rise wasn’t as high as many anticipated.

“Which probably means more of this food is going into grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, (which) are showing a tremendous amount of interest in sourcing local,” Deller said.

Deller says the drought in 2012 may also have affected the sales numbers.

Roundy’s embraces trend for fresh local produce

By Joe Taschler of the Journal Sentinel, May 20, 2014 – http://www.jsonline.com/business/roundys-embraces-trend-for-fresh-local-produce-b99265532z1-260012781.html

Fresh sweet corn is hot.

So is just about every other fresh fruit and vegetable.

Grabbing hold of the trend in which consumers are watching everything they eat, Milwaukee-based grocer Roundy’s Inc. is building on a partnership begun last year with the Madison-based Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative to sell produce from local farms in the chain’s stores around the state.

While not entirely new, the trend of consumers increasingly asking for fresh, unprocessed foods shows no signs of slowing.

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Wisconsin Cooks Invited to Kick-Start Culinary Dreams

Food Entrepreneur Challenge Lights a Fire under Great Ideas

Milwaukee, April 14, 2014– Inspired cooks with an innovative food or beverage business concept or early stage business are invited to enter this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, a regional contest to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur.  The Challenge is sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College and by Reliable Water Services, a statewide provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners.

This year’s contest features a start-up category for those with a brand new food business idea and a new category for early stage food entrepreneurs who have already launched but are looking for help to get to the next level.

Beginning April 2, aspiring chefs, home cooks and early stage food entrepreneurs throughout Wisconsin can enter online at www.hotwater247.com by submitting a short application and uploading a photo of their recipe or product concept. The site has contest rules and details.

The adult grand prize winner in each category will receive:

  • $2,000 in seed money from Reliable to start their business
  • Comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC
  • Private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s advisory council
  • Funding and growth consultation with financial specialists at MW Growth Partners

     Finalists will be selected in late May to participate in a final judging event in July at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s 6th Street Café.

“Whether you are just starting with a new concept or have already launched your food business, this contest could give you the culinary boost you need to succeed,” said Andrew Schneider, MATC bakery/pastry arts instructor and owner of Le Rêve Patisserie and Café, Wauwatosa.

Judges for the contest include:

  • Kurt Fogle, executive pastry chef for SURG Restaurant Group
  • Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee
  • Angela West, co-founder/publisher, Alcoholmanac Magazine
  • Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café
  • Eric Olesen, co-owner and president, O&H Danish Bakery of Racine
  • Jen Ede, publisher, Edible Milwaukee
  • Daphne Jones, owner, Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausages.
  • Rakesh (Ryan) Rehan, owner, Café India

“We can’t wait to see the innovative concepts this year’s entrants bring to the table,” said Lynne Robinson, President of Reliable Water Services.”

      For more information and to enter, visit Reliable Water Services at www.hotwater247.com.

Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

by

April 17, 2014 3:30 AM ET
 

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It’s inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone’s proprietary product.

At an event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. In fact, any future plant that’s derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well.

Read more or listen to the story at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-first-open-source-seeds