Wisconsin program to get local food into schools

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.

Recipients will use the money to pay for technical assistance to improve business practices and profitability. Many of the school districts will hire consultants or chefs to develop menus and recipes that incorporate local foods. Some districts will provide training for staff to procure and prepare fresh, seasonal produce. The farms will use the awards analyze opportunities, develop products and to develop marketing plans.

The award recipients are:

●  Auburndale Food Cooperative, Wood County (distributor) ●  School District of Washburn
●  Spring Rose Growers Cooperative, Dane County (distributor) ●  Campo di Bella, Mount Horeb (farm)
●  Wisconsin Food Hub, Dane County (distributor) ●  Deutsch Family Farm, Osseo
●  Aquinas Catholic Schools, La Crosse ●  Dream Farm, Cross Plains
●  Highland Community School, Milwaukee ●  Viroqua Area Schools
●  Pulaski Community School District ●  Groché Organic Farms, Sumico
●  Sheboygan Area School District ●  Meuer Farm, Chilton
●  Equinox Community Farm, Waunakee ●  Snug Haven Farm, Belleville
●  Turtle Hill Wilds, Blanchardville  

Projects are expected to be completed by October.

The money for this one-time opportunity came from Transform Wisconsin. The objectives are to increase the sale of local foods into local markets (with preference given to sales into schools), increase producers’ entrances into new markets and increase the number of local suppliers for aggregators/schools.

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