Nine local food projects have been selected to receive grants through the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, a competitive grant program designed to strengthen Wisconsin’s food industries by reducing marketing, distribution and processing hurdles that impede the access of Wisconsin food products to local purchasers.
Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Buy Local grants help provide consumers access to even more Wisconsin-grown food products, including locally grown herbs for chefs and retailers, organic vegetables, maple syrup, red-wine vinegar and locally produced beer.
DATCP received 31 funding requests totaling about $1.1 million. Ultimately, nine projects totaling $200,000 were selected to receive FY2019 grants.
The 2019 grantees are:
• Lovefood of Madison: Funds will be used to create a resilient environment to extend the season for growing organic herbs for chefs and retailers, thereby reducing amount of herbs imported from out of state.
• Driftless Brewery of Soldiers Grove: Funds will be used to develop a marketing and distribution effort for their newly expanded brewery and taproom.
• Enos Farm of Spring Green: Funds will be used for a farm-to-freezer project that involves purchasing locally grown organic vegetables in bulk and preserving them for future purchase by restaurants and food establishments.
• Mushroom Mike of Milwaukee: Funds will be used to increase sales of locally grown cultivated mushrooms, unique produce and foraged products through business expansion and production capabilities.
• Anderson’s Maple Syrup of Cumberland: Funds will be used to market an expansion project seeking to increase consumption of Wisconsin organic pure maple syrup by promoting a new innovative single-serve package.
• JRs Country Acres of Lake Mills: Funds will be used to expand sales through marketing and placement of locally produced eggs in stores.
• Barham Gardens of Blanchardville: Funds will be used to promote and highlight the aronia product, distribution, sales and the aronia industry.
• Ugly Apple LLC of Madison: Funds will be used to buy “seconds” and overstock produce from Wisconsin farmers and process it into dehydrated “fruit leather.”
• Campo di Bella of Mount Horeb: Funds will be used to increase value-added sales through the on-farm production, processing and sales/distribution of red wine vinegar.
Since its inception in 2008, the program has funded more than 60 projects, totaling $1.625 million. Previous grant recipients have generated more than $10 million in new local food sales, created and retained more than 220 jobs and benefited more than 2,800 producers and nearly 3,000 markets.
Due to the significant impact and growing interest in the program, Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposes an additional $100,000 per year for Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin.