Grants totaling $200,000 have been awarded to six Wisconsin food companies and programs for their work in providing consumers easier access to locally-grown food.
The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants are from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and have been awarded every year since 2008.
"The grants support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture," said Kietra Olson, Wisconsin foods program manager at DATCP.
"Outcomes generated by the grant recipients provide benefits to local communities, and serve as models for others in the local food industry," Olson said.
The six recipients include:
- FairShare CSA Coalition, a Madison-based coalition of 50 small, organic family farms. The grant will be used to equip growers with online marketing tools and templates to increase CSA (community supported agriculture) share sales in Wisconsin.
- Namichips, a Viroqua firm that makes nutrient-dense vegetable chips. The grant will help the firm increase the demand and supply for locally-produced food, by strategically purchasing produce from local farms.
- Nordic Creamery, a Westby artisanal cheese and butter producer. The grant will be used to collaborate with local dairy farmers to create and market A2 milk products. A2 is one of two proteins, A1 being the other, produced by cows, that supposedly makes it easier to digest milk.
- Pasture and Plenty, a Madison meal kit producer. The grant will be used to expand direct-to-consumer and wholesale distribution of kits, to support Wisconsin-based growers and connect consumers with convenient local food solutions.
- Living the Waupaca Way, a program expanding the access and reach of the Waupaca Area Farmers' Market.
- Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, a Madison coop working with the Wisconsin Farmers Union. The grant will be used to develop a workable model for cost-efficient aggregation and transportation for local and regional food markets for Wisconsin produce.
Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin has funded 58 projects with $1.6 million since it started 10 years ago.
The grant recipients generated almost $10 million in new local food sales, created and retained over 200 jobs and benefited over 2,700 producers and 2,900 markets.