2023 Fund Our Foodshed Grant Winners Announced

We launched the Fund Our Foodshed Grant Program in 2018 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 our goal was to ensure local 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 of up to $5,000 to fund a project. Funds may be used for the purchase of machinery, construction, supplies such as planting materials, feed, or animals, infrastructure development, professional services, or other projects that increase productivity or improve the applicant’s business. During the last five grant cycles, we have been able to fund projects such as planting 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 in early April, after which we formed the 2023 Grant Committee made up of one staff member, two owners, two board members, and two past winners. Each committee member individually scored all of the applications, and the results are in! This year’s winners are Northwood Mushrooms, Hidden Stream Farm, and Siverling Centennial Farm.

Northwood Mushrooms is a mushroom supplier located in Clayton, Wisconsin that grows several mushroom varieties and applied for a grant to complete a log cultivation building. Funds will be used to pour a concrete floor,  install insulation, heating controls, electrical, and lighting, and extend water pipes from another production space on their property. Once completed, this project will extend their growing season for indoor, log-grown shiitake mushrooms.

Hidden Stream Farm is a meat and egg farm located in Elgin, Minnesota that specializes in pasture-raised meats. They will be putting their grant toward purchasing and wrapping a new refrigerated delivery van. This new vehicle will allow them to continue growing the local food hub they have been running on their farm, and it will ensure the safe delivery of their products to retail partners such as our co-op.

Siverling Farm is a produce and beef farm in Bloomer, Wisconsin that grows organic crops and raises rotationally pastured beef. They will use the grant to purchase a retail display cooler and freezer, both of which will be installed in a new meat processing facility they are building on the farm that will include a commercial kitchen and retail space. Processing their own products in their own commercial kitchen will allow them to expand sales to other retailers and co-ops.

This article was originally published in the July/August 2023 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.

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