Submitted by Chris Hayden, MMFC Board of Directors
It always comes down to the people. On December 8, a mingle of some of Menomonie’s finest – dedicated farmers and farm hands, local food supporters, musicians and artists, activists, and Co-op employees and shoppers – came together in the camaraderie of common cause and warm spirits for the third annual Benefit for the Bounty: A Local Farm Support Initiative. The old brick walls of the Raw Deal cafe reflecting the lasting strength of generations, the old spell of live music plying upon the weave of our community, making the threads hum. In these moments, you remember who you are as a people.
This benefit was put on by a local farm aid movement that has begun providing direct assistance to farmers in need, while raising awareness about the issues facing our small providers. In this case, the fledgling Winnowburrow Farm (which participated in Menomonie Market’s CSA fair last year) was the recipient of the evening’s proceeds. Bonnie from Winnowburrow spoke eloquently and passionately about their struggles and joy. Her acceptance of aid was as an equal, as someone who had poured her effort into this community and in turn received neighborly assistance – the give and take of mutual aid.
Events like this, and Menomonie Market’s recent Fund our Foodshed grant awards to five local farms, provide these little points of light against what we must accept is a gloomy backdrop facing so many local farms. We gather in goodwill, around food and music locally made. Like a barn raising, we each give a little and our community grows stronger. Our small contributions can add up to egg collection systems, or improved fencing. The message of support can be sustaining in itself during hard times. Every one of us counts!