Menomonie Market Announces 2020 Fund Our Foodshed Grant Recipients
We are excited to officially announce our 2020 Fund Our Foodshed Grant winners! The Fund our Foodshed program furthers the co-op’s mission of creating a thriving and healthy community by supporting the growth of regional farming, food processing, and product development in the Chippewa Valley. The funded projects strengthen operational infrastructure, increase food production, and help to rebuild our rural community.
In a normal year, we would have sent out a large call for applicants in the spring, but like so many others, all of our plans of doing so were upended by the COVID-19 outbreak. We still wanted to give back to our local farmers this year, so in early August our Fund Our Foodshed committee—comprised of Menomonie Market Food Co-op board members, staff, and owners—virtually reconvened and decided to reach out to former applicants to learn more about how we could reinvest in their businesses.
Each farm was asked to describe projects with which they needed the most financial help, and the winners were selected based on a variety of criteria—most importantly, the potential positive impact on the agricultural economy of the Chippewa Valley. See our winners below! Each farm was awarded $1,500, and we will be sharing each farm’s project story on our website, on social media, and in-store in the coming months to celebrate their farm improvements. Stay tuned to see your Round Up For Good dollars in action, and as always, thank you for making this program possible with your generosity!
Sacred Blossom Farm
An herb and tea farm located in Mondovi, Wisconsin run by Tony DiMaggio
Miles from the Co-op: 42
Project Funded: New biodegradable packaging for teas as well as professional graphic design and photography services for a brand relaunch
Benefit to Local Foodshed: Switching to biodegradable packaging will allow them to retire the plastic tube packaging used to package their teas, which will be better for the environment. Relauching their brand with this new packaging, a new product line, and a new look is projected to expand their farm from one full-time employee, $8,000 worth of herbs contracted from local growers, and restoration of 40 acres of farmland to five full-time employees, contracting $100,000 worth of herbs from local growers, and restoratively managing 150 acres of farmland if successful.
Harvest Moon Organics
An organic meat farm located in Cadott, Wisconsin run by the Drilling Family
Miles from the Co-op: 41
Project Funded: Equipment, materials, and resources to double or triple the capacity per batch of birds
Benefit to Local Foodshed: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, their supply has increased to the point where they are unable to keep up with demand because all of their meat orders are filled from animals raised on their farm. By investing in expansion materials, they would be able to grow their farm from raising and processing 750 birds annually to anywhere from 1,500-2,000 birds annually, allowing them to reach more customers interested in buying their organic meat locally.
A produce farm in Clayton, Wisconsin run by Khaiti Hallstein
Miles from the Co-op: 40
Project Funded: The purchase of materials to build a better pack shed for processing their produce, resources for the addition of a small pear orchard, and a digger attachment for their tractor
Benefit to Local Foodshed: Building a better shed for processing produce will allow them to more efficiently fill orders for their new CSA shares—a program to which they switched after the COVID-19 outbreak affected farmer’s markets earlier this year. The addition of a pear orchard and purchase of a digger attachment will also help them expand their farm from three acres to six filled with produce that will be sold to CSA customers and donated to local food pantries, all while helping them reach a point where they are making a more livable wage.