We hope that the arrival of winter finds you well and not too cold. Brr!
We wanted to take this opportunity to give you some updates on what is going on with the Wisconsin Local Food Network. We’ve got some big news!
A group of stakeholders came together back in August to chart a path forward. There was agreement that the Wisconsin Local Food Network and the Wisconsin Healthy Food System Alliance should merge and work together formally as one entity. You can expect to hear more details about this over the coming months.
Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN) is in the process of transitioning from being housed at REAP Food Group to the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), after moving from Wellspring last year. A big thanks to all of these organizations for helping to keep the work of coordinating the network going.
Wisconsin Farmers Union is currently coordinating the listserve with UW Extension. And will start to manage the website. We are also in conversation with UW Extension about what their role can be as they themselves are reorganizing across the state. They are eager to be an active part in the important work of building the healthy and fair local food system.
The big news is that in partnership with HealthTIDE and Wisconsin Farmers Union, and some prospective partners, we are putting things in place to mutually invest in a “more than half-time, hopefully full-time” Coordinator! We are developing the scope of work for this position and will be announcing the job opening shortly. We hope to have someone hired by late February/early March. This permanent position will assist WLFN in longer term planning and improved follow through. When you see the announcement please help us spread the word.
We are also excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Feeding Wisconsin to have our annual Summit programming at their annual Hunger & Health Summit on April 9 & 10, 2018 at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells. We will have the opportunity to continue the WLFN Food System Convergence meeting in the form of a pre-conference from 9 – 11:30am on April 9th. During the Hunger and Health Summit, we will be able to offer attendees a full track of WLFN Food System Sessions as a complement to the concurrent sessions that focus on hunger, health, healthcare, advocacy, and federal programs.
We are extremely excited to offer WLFN supporters the opportunity to continue along the conversations that have started and progressed over the last 11 Annual Summits with an opportunity to have a deep dive on issues of food access and health, issues that WLFN supporters have expressed ongoing interest in. Additionally, the conference tracks this year will align with the Wisconsin Blueprint to Ending Hunger Plan. This is an exciting development because we can help give voice to the entire local food system, starting with the farmers to help impact the Ending Hunger Plan.
We value your support and input. Please consider how you might engage and participate in the new WLFN. Participating in the April Health and Hunger Summit will be a great way to start.
If you are interested in helping to plan the Pre-Conference Convergence or any of the WLFN tracks, please contact Greg Zahn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Small planning committees have begun to form and we would love to have your continued engagement. Please let Greg know what you might be up for.
Feeding Wisconsin is accepting session proposals for the conference. The RFP and the submission form is on their Conference page: http://www.feedingwi.org/programs/conferences/2018_summit.php Please help us spread the word among your networks!
Again, thank you so much for your continued support. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.
The WLFN Board,
WI Healthy Food System Alliance
and our Partners.