Don’t Miss the WLFN 11th Annual Summit – Hackberry’s Bistro – “End of the Day” Reception – Thurs Jan 12

A special thanks to our reception sponsor – Hackberry’s Bistro  


Always seasonal, local, and organic!

Come to Hackberry’s Bistro Thursday for WLFN’s “end of the day” reception! 

Sample from the best of La Crosse area foods:

  • Fizzeology fermented foods
  • Nami chips
  • Hidden Springs sheep cheese
  • Nordic Creamery goat cheeses and the
  • Bistro’s amazing appetizers created just for the Summit Reception using “local only” products! 
  • Full cash bar includes local beers and wines!

Hackberry’s Bistro is located on the second floor of People’s Food Co-op (PEC), 315 S. 5th Ave  –  a brisk 5 block walk from the Radisson La Crosse Center or drive and park on the street or in one of two PFC lots.

Thursday, January 12……5pm to 6:30pm

INCLUDED with your Summit Registration – Let us know if you are attending so we have enough for everybody!

If you have not yet registered then email to let us know and if you have any dietary requirements.  You can register at the Radisson La Crosse beginning at 7:30 a.m. either Thursday or Friday. Check should be made out to WLFN and full registration at the door is for all registrants is $170 for two days and $100 for one day.  Credit card payment (VISA or MasterCard) will also be accepted on site.


Jan 11 Pre-Summit Tour Registration Deadline – Partners Working Together to Make Local Food More Accessible and to Support Local Food Enterprises – Only $16 includes Dinner, Music, Tour, New Ideas and Network

Open to General Public and WLFN Summit Attendees

Tour will start at 3 p.m. at the Vernon Economic Development Association’s Food Enterprise Center – 1201 North Main Street, Viroqua, WI 54665. Registration deadline is noon on Monday, January 9.  Call after that to see if openings are still available. 262-488-4747.

Pre-Summit Tour poster.jpg

The Food Enterprise is a unique blending of space as a LOCAL FOOD HUB.  Tenants Leasing Production Space include:

  • Artisan Deli Foods – produces white sauerkraut,
  • Community Hunger Solutions – local produce for meal sites and food pantries
  • Driftless Co-Option – organic food-buying club –
  • EZ Farming – aggregator for organic produce
  • Fifth Season Cooperative – coordinates moving local food to institutional foodservice –
  • Kickapoo Coffee – coffee roaster –
  • LuSa Organics – handmade bodycare products –
  • Sole Expressions Dance Studio Co-op – dance classes –

Tenants Using Commercial Kitchens include:

You may have heard about Viroqua and the Vernon Economic Development Association’s Food Enterprise but this is your chance to experience it up close and personal!

This article about Vernon County and Viroqua is taken from a recent publication in Food Tank: The Food Think Tank and Wallace Center at Winrock International. Open to Summit Attendees and the general public is a chance to explore what everyone is talking about!

“Next to Wal-Mart on the edge of rural Viroqua, Wisconsin, a 100,000-square-foot abandoned industrial building is now bustling with new businesses and jobs from an unconventional source: The local food and farming sector.

It’s a turnaround for a small town that lost one of its largest employers and then bet on the growth of local food markets to enliven that vacant space and the area’s economy.” Read the full article at…/food-business-centers-move-o…



WLFN Summit Early-Bird Ends Tomorrow – Wed., Dec. 21

You won’t want to miss the 11th Annual Local Food Summit in La Crosse
Thursday, January 12 and Friday, January 13 with Pre-Summit Vernon County / Viroqua Tour starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11.
Breakout sessions will be of interest to local food minded people regardless of whether or not it is part of your profession or because it is your interest or passion!  Click Here to see all your presentation opportunities.
Registration includes;
  • 20 + breakout sessions
  • Panel of State Policy Leaders –  Those who have been a part of effecting state-wide change will participate in the panel, the Convergence, individual breakout sessions, and available for networking throughout the two days.
  • Convergence* – a forum to solicit input from food system stakeholders – see more below
  • Reception and opportunity to participate in after-dinner conversation with the State representatives
  • Two breakfasts and two lunches
  • Tour on Thursday morning to Hillview Greenhouse, the Green Wall at Western Technical College, and then the Vermicomposting Center – open to first 45 registrants signing up for the tour
Click here to register.
Scholarships – Need a full or partial scholarship?  Applications are open until the funding is depleted.  But don’t delay. Ensure your opportunity by applying early as we are nearly half way through the available funding.  Open to high school and college students, and all professions.  Click here to complete a scholarship application.
Pre-Summit Vernon County / Viroqua Experience – Wednesday, Only $16 includes tours, Happy Hour, dinner, and music.  This is a self-drive opportunity starting at 3 p.m. at Vernon Economic Development Association’s Food Enterprise Center – 1201 North Main Street, Viroqua, WI to tour various local food enterprises and initiatives. Then enjoy Branches Winery, Happy Hour, and a locally sourced dinner by Viroqua Food Co-op with music by Dan Sebranek/Acoustic guitar. If you aren’t able to join us for the Summit, consider signing up separately for the Pre-Summit!  Click here to register for the Pre-Summit and /or Summit.
Convergence –  The Wisconsin Food System Convergence will be a forum to solicit input from food system stakeholders on how to create a sustainable, good food movement throughout our state. The Convergence will build on all the great work that has been done in the past, and through a modified process of Appreciative Inquiry, will seek to chart a coordinated path forward. Join us to share your input on how to more effectively work together to build a food system that makes it easy to grow, sell, access, and eat healthy food for all people in Wisconsin.
Volunteers & Group Moderators Needed – There are still some openings for volunteers to serve as room hosts, at registration, set-up, clean-up, and to help moderate table discussions during the Convergence.  If you would like to volunteer, please email
Carpool or Room Mate Needed – Need help with finding a room mate or a ride share?  Click here to list on a carpooling site. Click here to submit a request for room share offer or seeking.
Reception – Thursday 5 – 6:30 p.m. – Hackberry’s Bistro above People’s Food Co-Op is the location and sponsor for this event. . Light appetizers and cash bar featuring local and organic foods, beer, and wines.
Networking Dinner – Thursday 6:15 – 8 p.m. – Piggy’s Restaurant and Blues Lounge – Check out menus at both restaurants at Piggy’s web site by clicking here.  Join the policy leaders and panelists from IL, IA, MI, and MN for a conversation about how we might all work more collaboratively related to local food.  Sign up here for the Networking Dinner (individual checks- not included in registration fee)
We look forward to seeing you for the exciting 11th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Network Summit!  Feel free to contact us if you any problems with registering or have questions.
Find us on Social Media!
Twitter: WLFN7
Instagram: wilocalfoodnetwork



On January 12-13, 2017, The Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN) will hold its 11th Annual Summit at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin convening stakeholders from across the Wisconsin food system for learning, networking, and community building.

WLFN is a network of individuals and organizations that works towards a Wisconsin food system that supports a strong food infrastructure that helps local communities and businesses thrive, sustainable farms of all sizes, and affordable access to healthy locally grown food for ALL Wisconsin residents. With a long-standing partnership with UW-Extension and other food and agriculture groups, WLFN is the leading coalition of food advocates in the state.

The Summit, held annually since 2007, brings together community organizers, agency staff and advocates, educators, students, local food producers, processors, distributors, businesses, and eaters to learn, network, and help shape our local food systems.

Click here if you would like to see the e-news with all the details including the Pre-Summit Vernon County / Viroqua Experience, the La Crosse Food Tour on Thursday morning, the reception, networking dinner, opportunity to network with and converse with local food leaders from five (5) states, and things like carpooling and seeking or offering room shares.

In past Summits, WLFN has introduced concepts of Open Space, Networking, and Collective Impact throughout the schedule, encouraging participants to come together to discuss key issues surrounding the Wisconsin food system and to think creatively about how we can come together to collectively shape a strong, equitable food system.

This year’s closing general session will be a Wisconsin Food System Convergence. This will be a forum to solicit input from food system stakeholders on how to create a sustainable, good food movement throughout our state. The Convergence will build on all the great work that has been done in the past, and through a modified process of Appreciative Inquiry, will seek to chart a coordinated path forward. Join us to share your input on how to more effectively work together to build a food system that makes it easy to grow, sell, access, and eat healthy food for all people in Wisconsin.

“We are very excited for the closing general session,” said Kathleen Hein, WLFN Board Chair. “It will bring together the work we have done together over the last decade and start to chart a course forward for the next 10 years to engage more people and spark more connections throughout the state.”

“For those who have felt things may have moved too slowly in the past as it relates to action, we’ve heard you and the Convergence is our promise to ensure work between Summits,” said Angela Rester, former WLFN Board Director and currently managing WLFN. “The Wisconsin Healthy Food Systems Alliance partnered with us this year and have given an extra boost to ensuring next action steps between Summits.

Early bird registration rates are available until midnight CST Wednesday, December 21 and discounts are available for farmers and students (high school, technical college, and other higher learning institutions). Registration scholarships are also available for anyone wishing to participate but hasn’t the means or all of the means to do so. To register for the conference or to learn more about WLFN, please visit the Wisconsin Local Food Network website at

Volunteers are needed to serve as room hosts and monitors, set-up and take-down, support for IT needs, registration, and new this year, we need about 20 folks to serve as table moderators during the Convergence.  If you would like to learn ways that you can be engaged as a volunteer at the Summit or to help spread the word, please contact Angela Rester at or 262-488-4747.

Pre-Summit Event

Meet up with other Local Food enthusiasts in the “always talked about” Vernon County and Viroqua. Drive in on Wednesday afternoon and start at 3 p.m. at the Vernon Economic Development Association’s Food Enterprise Center – 1201 North Main Street, Viroqua, WI 54665 for an afternoon and evening of tours, wine-tasting, and an incredible dinner.  Summit attendees are encouraged to participate before the Summit.  Non-Summit attendees are able to do this separately.10927-viroqua-vernon-flyer

To register, go to the registration form at WLFN Summit & Pre-Summit Registration Form. Complete the registration form and separately go to payment to pay on-line. To pay via phone, call 262-675-6755 or by mail send check made payable to WLFN to, WLFN, 4382 Hickory Road, West Bend, WI 53090.

2017 Summit Schedule and Presenters!!

wilocalfoodnetworklogofinalWe are pleased to announce the schedule and presenters for the 2017 Wisconsin Local Food Summit!

The Summit will take place at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse on January 12-13th.

CLICK HERE for registration details.

Remember, Early Bird Tickets are on sale until December 21st!

We also have Scholarships available!!

We have an exciting line up of presenters this year on topics such as how to increase farm to school and farm to early care initiatives; finding and using resources from DATCP, UW-Extension, and the Farm Service Agency; building community food systems on tribal lands; developing grass-fed farming; and so much more! For a full list of our amazing lineup of presenters, CLICK HERE.

Keynote Panel: Discussion with Midwestern State Food Policy Leaders 

This year, we are also featuring a keynote panel with leaders from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan who have led local food policy initiatives in their states. These panelists will be discussing the work they have done  to build local food charters, policies, and funding systems in their respective states.

  • Bridget Holcomb: Executive Director of Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN)
  • Stephanie Heim: Associate Program Director in Community Food Systems at University of Minnesota Extension
  • Michael Dahl: Director of Minnesota Food Charter Network
  • Tom Spaulding: Executive Director of Angelic Organics
  • Jude Barry: Food System Specialist at the Center for Regional Food Systems – Michigan State University.


The abbreviated Summit Schedule is below. For a full schedule and updates, please CLICK HERE.

Thursday, January 12, 2017: Day 1 Summit

7:30 am Registration Begins
7:30-8:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Welcoming Address
8:45-9:15 am Networking Activity
9:30-10:45 am Breakout Session I                Tour Option: La Crosse Local                                                Food Projects  9:30-12:30pm
10:45-11:15 am Break & Exhibit Hall
11:15am-12:30 pm Breakout Session 2
12:30 – 1:45 pm Lunch
1:45-2:15 pm Break – Visit Exibits/Posters
2:15-3:30 pm Breakout Session 3
3:30-3:45 pm Break
3:45-4:45 pm Open Space
5:00 – 6:15 pm Happy Hour and Reception (Hackberry’s Bistro at People’s Food Co-op) Cash Bar

6:30 – 8:00 pm                        Dine Around – Summit Attendee Group Dining Options                                                          (Meal and drink expenses not included in Summit fees)


Friday, January 13, 2017: Day 2 Summit

7:00-8:00 am Breakfast and Table Topics Networking
8:00-8:15 am WLFN Announcements
8:15-9:30 am Breakout Session 4
9:30-10:00 am Break & Exhibits
10:00-12:00 pm Panel – Local Food Systems in IL, IA, MI, and MN
12:00-1:15 pm Lunch – Announcements & Video
1:15-1:30 pm Break
1:30-2:55 pm Convergence
2:55-3:00 pm Wrap-up and Evaluations


A special thank you to our sponsors:

SARE_NorthCentral_CMYK OV_Logo4x3_300dpi  uwex_ces

Scholarships Available for the 2017 WI Local Food Summit!!

The 2017 Wisconsin Local Food Summit will be taking place at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse, WI on January 12-13th. Limited scholarships are available to try to make the Summit accessible to as many people as possible. Anyone is eligible to apply for the scholarship, including: students, nonprofit professionals, teachers, AmeriCorps members, community advocates, farmers, chefs, food service workers, volunteers, and more! If you are interested in Wisconsin food and have a financial barrier that would otherwise keep you from attending, don’t hesitate to apply!!

Also, please spread the word far and wide by sharing with all of your contacts! We want everyone to see this wonderful opportunity and to get a great, diverse audience at this Summit as we continue to move our great state forward!

We look forward to seeing you at the Summit!


Meet the Keynotes at the 2017 Wisconsin Local Food Summit!!

This year, the Wisconsin Local Food Network will be changing things up a bit at our annual Summit. In addition to our regular keynotes, we will also be presenting a special Keynote Panel featuring local food policy leaders from the Midwest. These panelists will be discussing the work they have done  to build local food charters, policies, and funding systems in their respective states.




Bridget Holcomb: Executive Director of Women, Food, Agriculture Network (WFAN); Representing the Iowa and Illinois Food Policy Councils





Tom Spaulding: Executive Director of Angelic Organics; Representing the Illinois Food Policy & Council




Jude Berry: Food System Specialist at Center for Regional Food Systems – Michigan State University; Representing the Michigan Good Food Charter




Stephanie Heim: Associate Program Director in Community Food Systems at University of Minnesota Extension; Representing the Minnesota Food Charter





Michael Dahl: Director of the Minnesota Food Charter Network; Representing the Minnesota Food Charter



Each of these panelists will also be doing individual breakouts during the Summit to dig down deeper into the work they have done with their state-wide policy initiatives and their organizations.

The Summit will close with a facilitated Wisconsin Food System Convergence designed to build consensus and energy so that individuals and organizations can leave the Summit with a greater understanding and awareness of local food policy development as well as immediate action steps to make continued impact in local communities between Summits. WLFN will also be unveiling it’s “forward action” plan with the launching of an enhanced State-wide listserve for Local Food events, conversations, meetings, and resources.

To register for this exciting event, visit our event page at:

Early Bird Tickets are on sale until December 21st!!



National Food Day, October 24th 2016!!

National Food Day

National Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies.

October 24 is a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level. In 2016, Food Day has the theme “Toward a Greener Diet.”

This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.

With Food Day, we can celebrate our food system when it works and fix it when it’s broken. Across the country, more than 8,000 events took place in 2015, from community festivals in Denver, Savannah, and New York City, to a panel discussion on food justice in Washington, DC, to thousands of school activities in Portland, Minneapolis, and elsewhere. Hundreds of events are being planned on and around October 24, 2016.

Why Food Day?

The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment.

Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path. With America’s resources, there’s no excuse for hunger, low wages for food and farm workers, or inhumane conditions for farm animals.

Join the Movement

The most important ingredient in Food Day is you! Use October 24 to start—or celebrate—eating a healthier diet and putting your family’s diet on track. Food Day is not just a day; it’s a year-long catalyst for healthier diets and a better food system. Let’s use this energy to make a meaningful and long-lasting difference! Use #NationalFoodDay to promote your activities today!