2022 Fund Our Foodshed Grant Winners Announced
In 2018, we launched the Fund Our Foodshed Grant Program to provide crucial support to farming operations and food processors in our region. We know that funding is often what prevents small businesses from expanding or making improvements, and we wanted to ensure local food producers would be able to feed our community for many years to come.
Each spring, we invite farmers, producers, and processors located within 100 miles of one of our stores to apply for a grant to fund a project up to $5,000 in cost. Funds may be used for the purchase of machinery, construction, supplies such as planting materials, feed, or animals, infrastructure development, services, or other projects that increase productivity or improve the applicant’s business. During the previous four grant cycles, we have had the pleasure of funding projects such as a new pear orchard, building hoop houses and greenhouses, purchasing refrigeration equipment, improving systems with new machinery, and even a mobile pig feeder and waterer for easier rotational grazing.
Applications for this year’s cycle closed on April 10th, and in late April, we formed the 2022 Grant Committee, which was made up of two staff members, two owners, two board members, and two past winners. Each committee member individually scored all of the applications, resulting in this year’s winners—Kaiserson, Cedar Bee Farm, and EB Ranch.
Kaiserson is a small beekeeping operation in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that produces honey, maple syrup, and candles. They focus on small-batch seasonal honey harvests and have outgrown their current storage solution. Their current setup operates as a workspace, storage space, and equipment space. The grant will be used to purchase a shipping container that they will convert into storage space.
Cedar Bee Farm is a poultry and hog farm in Mondovi, Wisconsin that specializes in pasture-raised meat products. The growing business has maximized the resources that they have to process up to 300 chickens per batch, but they plan to grow their flock to 500. The grant will fund the purchase of a new brooder, transition area, pasture pen, crates, and coolers to increase the sustainability and efficiency of their farm.
EB Ranch is a small farm in Ridgeland, Wisconsin that raises an endangered breed of goats for meat and milk that is used to make soap and body care products. Beginning in August, EB Ranch and Hay River Pumpkin Seed Oil will team up to allow the goats to graze on brush and ground cover while fertilizing the soil in the process. The grant will fund electric netting that is portable to keep the goats in specific areas and allow for rotational grazing.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.