Eight local food projects are the latest recipients of Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Designed to help farmers and food processors reach new local markets, the grants will provide consumers access to even more Wisconsin-grown food products, ranging from fruits and vegetables to wine and cheese to grain products.
“I’m pleased DATCP was able to provide support for these innovative local food projects,” says Wisconsin Foods Program Manager Kietra Olson. “The grants are intended to support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, and outcomes generated by the grant recipients will provide benefits to local communities and serve as models for others in the local food industry.”
DATCP received 33 funding requests of approximately $1.1 million. Ultimately, eight projects totaling $200,000 were selected to receive grants.
The 2017 grantees and project descriptions are:
• Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative. Create a local version of the increasingly popular hybrid Community Supported Agriculture/mail-order programs by offering Bayfield Foods products in mixed boxes direct to consumers in Wisconsin and Minnesota via direct shipment.
• Branches Winery. Create the Sip & Savor Driftless Wisconsin Wine and Cheese Trail, an innovative agritourism project comprised of seven estate wineries and seven creameries located in southwest Wisconsin.
• Brix Cider. Develop a coordinated, replicable system for harvesting, purchasing, storing and collecting apples from multiple small- and medium-sized Wisconsin farms.
• Hill Valley Dairy. A collaboration of cheesemakers and a dairy farm will design, assemble and operate an affordable, modular cheese aging facility that is suitable to meet the needs of new and small cheese businesses throughout Wisconsin.
• Lonesome Stone Milling. Market grain products from the Driftless region of Wisconsin.
• Sheep Dairy Association. Grow Wisconsin’s sheep dairy industry by creating customer awareness and demand for Wisconsin sheep milk products, creating a stronger retail and wholesale market for sheep milk products and increasing desire to use sheep milk by cheesemakers.
• Shiitake Growers Association. Reduce implementation barriers for beginning and growing mushroom producers by providing access to resources and increasing product awareness to potential customers and market access to growers.
• Tosa Farmers Market. Create a new market opportunity for farmers in the Milwaukee area by establishing a new farmers market in west Milwaukee
The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program has been funded since 2008. Since its inception, the program has funded 52 projects, totaling $1.4 million. Previous grant recipients have generated more than $9 million in new local food sales, created and retained 208 jobs, and benefited more than 2,693 producers and 2,795 markets.
Source: Wisconsin DATCP