The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants program – a program that has created over 100 jobs and brought a 6:1 return on investment – has been proposed to be eliminated! Click this link to find out about all the grant programs on this map.

However, there is still time to preserve this grants program. The budget has not yet been finalized and some legislators are talking about restoring the program. The best chance we have to get more legislators on board is for local food supporters to attend the upcoming budget hearings. Can you make it to one of these state budget hearings?

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Greendale High School Auditorium
6801 Southway
Greendale, WI 53129

10:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Monday, April 8, 2013
Lambeau Field
Legends Club Room – 4th Level, Lambeau Field Atrium
1265 Lombardi Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54304
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 10
Kalahari Resort Suites 2 and 7 (Main Level)
1305 Kalahari Drive
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
10:00 a.m — 5 p.m.

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Baldwin-Woodville High School Auditorium
1000 13th Avenue
Baldwin, WI 54002
10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

I’m not going to lie and say that these hearings are fun. Even if you show up early (which is recommended), it will be hours before your name is called and you will be limited to a few minutes to speak. But it is critical that local food supporters speak at these meetings.

When the Joint Finance Committee decides if a program is important enough that they need to amend the budget, the first question the legislators ask is, “Did we hear about this during the hearings? Was it important enough for people to give up a day at work or take hours away from their farm to tell us about it?” By speaking at a hearing, you can absolutely make a difference.

One of the biggest questions I get about these hearings is, “What do I say?” Here’s an example:
My name is Pat Patterson and my community benefits from local food. I am asking you to restore the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant program to help our community and many others grow jobs and create economic development right here in Wisconsin. This program has already created over 100 jobs and brought over $4 million in new local food sales, a 6:1 return on investment. Please support the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants program that fosters rural communities, helps farmers access lucrative markets, and keeps more of our money within Wisconsin.

So show up early, bring a good book, and help protect the future of local food in Wisconsin!

-Bridget Holcomb, Associate Policy Director, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute