Menomonie Market Food Co-op Awarded a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant
Menomonie Market Food Co-op is excited to announce a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant award from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The award will be used to expand our co-op’s work of strengthening the local food system and increasing local food options in the Chippewa Valley by allowing us to purchase equipment and grow our capacity to process, preserve, and store food.
About The Project
Beginning this summer, co-op staff will travel to the Menomonie and Eau Claire farmers markets (with hopes to expand to other markets in year two) to purchase unsold food that cannot be reused or repurposed by its sellers. In addition, Menomonie Market Food Co-op will purchase seconds and surpluses from area growers that will then be incorporated into deli meals and used in house-made products such as desserts, sauces, and broths. Planned partnerships with current and new local vendors include buying seconds from Mary Dirty Face Farm‘s fruit production to make value-added items for sale at our store and consigning crops from local CSA partner, Racing Heart Farm, for the Menomonie Market Food Co-op deli, including basil for year-round, house-made pesto production.
Anton & Rachel of Mary Dirty Face Farm
Les & Els of Racing Heart Farm
The project will result in increased income for area growers, less food waste, and more local food offerings in-store. We also plan to increase employment by adding hours and staff to help process and preserve food for customers to purchase.
“We are simply thrilled to be awarded this competitive grant,” says Crystal Halvorson, our General Manager. “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of our local farmers to get to market is less clear, and this project is specifically geared to be flexible so that we can make use of food that is otherwise not getting to people or generating income for farmers. We will be able to track exactly how much local food is purchased by us through this grant project and turned into products that our customers can buy all year long. Seeing the increased economic impact of local food from farm to table, while we decrease our reliance on food that we purchase from far away, will be the best part.”