ASHLAND, WI – Chequamegon Food Co-op recently received a $600 matching grant from the Agriculture and Energy Resource Center (AERC) for farm loan projects. These funds will be added to the Co-op’s micro-loan program, which offers no-interest, short-term loans to local food producers. The micro-loan program began in 2008 as a way for the cooperative grocery store to invest its profits in the local food system and to potentially provide more local foods for the Co-op’s shelves. The Co-op will match the AERC funds using their CHIP for Change program. CHIP for Change is a contribution program where money given by customers at the Co-op’s registers helps fund the micro-loan program.

The AERC has funded several area projects to provide recognition for groups and organizations that are attempting to address sustainability, environmental stewardship, and local food production. In addition to the grant funds, each organization received $50.00 to cover the cost of an annual membership in the Lake Superior chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network. Other grant award recipients were as

 The Bayfield Regional Conservancy will receive $550.00 for trail, land management, and membership activities.

 The Bad River Food Sovereignty Initiative will receive $1000.00 for local food production and youth training activities.

 The Red Cliff Community Farm will receive $1000.00 for food sovereignty and youth projects.

 Farms Not Factories will receive $550.00 for family farm support projects.

 Bad River Watershed Association will receive $550.00 for water quality research activities.

Chequamegon Bay area residents are invited to participate in this funding event. Community members who believe in sustainability, environmental stewardship, and local food production, are encouraged to offer a matching donation to the above award recipients.

To learn more about the Co-op micro-loan program, please contact Harold Vanselow, general manager, at (715) 682-8251 or

aerc grant check pic