Scroll down to read session descriptions (organized alphabetically by session title).

Where available, presentation materials are included after session title and presenter name.

♥ Session highlights our host region (Southeastern WI)
♣ Session has a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) focus

General Session

Collective Impact Overview by Liz Weaver

Collective Impact Overview Presentation

Track 1: Food Security/Health

♥ Tikkun Ha-Ir’s Surplus Harvest Project:  “Rescued” Food’s Role in Reducing Hunger Locally – Pamela Frydman-Roza

Tikkun Ha-Ir’s Surplus Harvest Project Presentation

Local foods, community health, and food security – latest research on patterns and relationships – Amber Canto and Laura Brown

Local Foods, community health and food security presentation

♥ Gardening as Therapy, Health Enhancement and Empowerment – Two Program Models—Howard Hinterthuer and Tatiana Maida

Rural Resilience in Assisted Living – Becca Bober

♥ Fighting Diabetes through Local Food Access in Milwaukee’s American Indian Community – Jennifer Casey

Fighting Diabetes Through Local Food Access in MKEs AI Community Presentation

Track 2: Market Development

The Impact of Farmers’ Market EBT on SNAP Participants, Farmers and Communities –Kristin Krokowski

The Impact of Farmers’ Markets EBT on … Presentation

♣ Farm strategies to increase food access/CSA membership for low income households – Erika Jones, Peter Seely and Tony Whitefeather

Strategies to Increase Access to CSA for Low Income Households Presentation

♥ Developing a Roadmap to a More Resilient Food System: The ReFresh Milwaukee Sustainability Planning Process – Marcia Caton Campbell and David Misky

♥ Around the Corner to Better Health: a 2-year project aimed at improving access to healthy food at four urban corner stores – Melissa DeNomie

Healthy Corner Store_Brochure_2014

Around the Corner to Better Health Presentation

♣ Workplace CSA, Building New Markets with Creative Partnerships – Julie Garrett, Cassie Noltnerwyss, Bill Herman

Workplace CSA CN Presentation

Workplace CSA BH Presentation

Workplace CSA JG Presentation

Track 3: Infrastructure Development

Moving local food to wholesale markets: lessons from practitioners – Michelle Miller

Moving Local Food to Wholesale Markets Presentation

♥ Milwaukee’s Fondy Food Center – From Farm to Table – Young Kim and Stephan Petro

Food Hubs: A Look at What’s Happening Now – Mark Olson, Diane Chapeta and Laura Theis

Local Food Marketplace foodhubs Presentation

WI Food Hub Cooperative Presentation

♥ Food Cooperatives as Drivers of Local Food Systems  – Colleen Wilkinson

Developing Statewide Capacity to Support Food Processing Innovation – Andrew Bernhardt and Mary Pat Carlson

Track 4: Farm to School

Food Fight! Columbia County Farm to School Using Food and Fun to Tackle Our Nation’s Big Issues – Shelbi Jentz

Growing Health: Using Youth Gardens to Increase Access and Appetites for Local Food – Beth Hanna

WI School Garden Initiative Overview

Hosting a School Garden Training

♥ Farm to School: Creating a program that best suits your school! – Francie Szostak, Linda Binder and Terri Miller

farm to school – resources doc.

Collective Impact: WI Farm to School – Sarah Elliott

Collective Impact WI Farm to School Presentation

Wisconsin’s Harvest Medley: Healthy Blends for WI Schools – Sara Tedeschi, Lihlani Skipper, Diane Chapeta and Kymm Mutch

Wisconsin’s Harvest Medley Presentation

Track 5: Consumer Education and Promotion

♣ Innovative CSA Member Involvement – Claire Strader, Mike Racette, Laura Mortimore and Kat Becker

Innovative CSA Member Involvement Presentation

♥ Ark of Taste—Saving our Local Food Heritage, One Food at a Time – Jennifer Casey and Barb Heinen

Ark of Taste Presentation

StorySelling: Telling Better Stories, Building Better Connections – Wendy Allen

♣ Helping Others Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor: Seasonal Menu Planning for CSA Farms and Farmer’s Market Shoppers – Patricia Mulvey

Breaking The Code: How Do We Really Know What We Are Eating? – Chris Holmen

Track 6: Producer Development

Resources and Technical Assistance for WI Local Food Producers – Teresa Engel

Vibrant Farmer Alliances: Best Practices from C.R.A.F.Ts (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) in the U.S. and Canada – Jenny Meyer

♣ Financial Management for CSA farm success – Paul Dietmann, John Hendrickson, Chris McGuire and Tricia Bross

CSA Farm Finances Web handout

Working on the Farm: Agricultural Labor in Local Food Systems – Jacki Hartley

♥♣ Growing a Neighborhood Food Network and Young Farmers in Milwaukee – Nick DeMarsh and Jan Christensen

Track 7: Community Development

♥ Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN: Food Initiatives Catalyzing Community Economic Development & Healthier Neighborhoods – Tim McCollow and Shaiya Morris

Please pass the potatoes – and Local Foods-friendly policies! How to speak up and take charge in Madison and Washington – Kara  O’Connor and George Reistad

Growing Community Food Systems:  Developing Institutional Partnerships – Jeremy Solin and Leanne Carlson

Sense of Place Presentation

Engaging Youth in Food System Work, a youth farmers market in Iron County – Joy Schelble and Amy Nosal

Engaging Youth_Garden to Market Presentation

Engaging Youth in Food System Work_Handout

Hunting for Sustainability: Conservation and Local, Free-Range Protein – Keith Warnke

Hunting for Sustainability Presentation

Track 8: Organization Development/Education

Assessing Healthy Food – Sandra Streed and Patricia Inman

Assessing Healthy Food Report

Strengthening the local food movement through the law: organizing businesses, complying with regulations, and satisfying legal obligations – Rachel Armstrong and Amy Salberg

♥ Community Collaboration through the Institute for Urban Agriculture and Nutrition – A Listening Session – Steve Ventura, Gretchen Mead and Tim McCollow

Notes from IUAN Listening Session

Building Locavore Passion in Your Community – Lynn Markham, Sue Anderson, Layne Cozzolino and Krista Englehardt

Building Locavore Passion in Your Community Presentation

Creating community wide discussion groups


♥Ark of Taste—Saving our Local Food Heritage, One Food at a Time: The FAO estimates that, in the last century, over 95% of traditionally eaten plant and animal foods have disappeared in the USA – 75% lost globally.  300,000 extinct vegetable varieties alon have disappeared in the last century.  Slow Food has a number programs to address this dramatic loss of food biodiversity, including the Ark of Taste (AOT) – an international catalog of delicious foods in danger of extinction.  There are more than 200 foods in the US found on the AOT, over 1,000 globally, and Slow Food has launched an ambitious new initiative to board 10,000 foods onto the Ark in the next few years.  By promoting and eating Ark products we help ensure they remain in production and on our plates, and we protect our local food heritage.  Participants will learn about AOT foods from the Great Lakes region, local Slow Food WiSE AOT initiatives, and how to get involved in saving cherished foods by boarding the Ark.

♥Around the Corner to Better Health: a 2-year project aimed at improving access to healthy food at four urban corner stores: This community-academic partnership pairs a previously existing neighborhood-based “Healthy Corner Stores” coalition with four central city corner stores and partners from the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Health Department.  The goal of this 2-year project (which is in its final months of funding) is to increase healthy food availability in Milwaukee’s central city through demonstration projects related to: improving store infrastructure to support stores’ ability to stock fresh food; helping storeowners navigate complicated city regulatory guidelines; targeted marketing efforts to increase sales of produce in the stores; youth “Food Justice” class; improved access to affordable locally grown fresh produce.     We are using the following methods to measure project success: 1) Photography of store produce inventory and results of discussions with storeowners about produce sales; 2) Satisfaction survey and pre-post knowledge assessment for youth participating in the “Food Justice” series; 3) Results of a survey of consumers related to produce buying habits in corner stores; 4) Structured interviews with corner store owners.  Please note that project findings are enriched by detailed documentation of lessons learned throughout the implementation of this pilot project.     Lessons learned thus far include an increased understanding of the challenges and successes related to: compliance with city and state regulation; limitations due to renting instead of owning, the store building; and introducing new produce to consumers. The partnership is currently awaiting results of essential project activities.  We will present on final results of our project which ends on December 31, 2013.

Assessing Healthy Food: During an eight-month period, the Center for Governmental Studies of Northern Illinois University worked closely with the Suburban Cook County Health Department to assess food security within the counties surrounding the city of Chicago.  A diverse steering committee looked at the characteristics of a healthy food system defined broadly by guidelines provided by several health agencies as well as the American Planning Association.  These descriptors included sustainability, health-promotion, resiliency, diversity, justice, transparency and economic viability. Information was gathered through a public forum and additional input obtained through an online survey tool.  The ability to address inequality in access to fresh food is complicated by the complexity of the food system. Five main functions move food from farm to table: production, processing, distribution, access, and waste management. The interdependency of those functions creates a confusing and largely invisible web. Making food systems more visible allows regions to bring appropriate partners to the table for collaboration and helps government agencies.  This presentation will discuss the process used in this food system assessment and the recommendations provided.  One of the most important aspects and unique to food assessments had to do with strategies for using local food systems to promote economic health, as well as family and environmental health.

Breaking The Code: How Do We Really Know What We Are Eating?: This presentation will focus on the messaging we find on labels, at farmers’ markets or even within our own conversations about food.  How do we know what a particular term means, and how much does it matter when it comes to who is using one or more of these buzz words (natural, grass-fed, cage-free, etc)?  Most importantly, how can we reclaim some of these terms so that they are more meaningful and used in accordance with what we most often believe them to mean when it comes to the food that we are purchasing?  How do we really know what we are consuming?     I will take attendees through as many different products as I can find (e.g. poultry, beef, pork, fish, etc) and show how these are being used by large-, medium- and small-scale farming operations.  I will also discuss the pros and cons that exist for each label, and provide people with practical knowledge that they can take away and apply immediately in their day-to-day food purchasing.  As a member of the board in the topic area of Consumer Education, I will also ensure that everything is in a format that can be easily uploaded to the WLFN website for broader distribution.

Building Locavore Passion in Your Community: Central Rivers Farmshed started as a spontaneous, grass-roots organization in Central Wisconsin over 5 years ago.  Starting with a few passionate locavores sitting around a breakfast table at a local café every Friday morning, the group has grown to include hundreds of people from our central Wisconsin community. Many of them contribute to the now well-established annual Farmshed activities and many others have spun off into building other start-up community organizations and programs focused on sustainability.  We’d like to tell the story of being part of that ground swell of community interest in local foods and share some of the methods for growing a local food movement as well as touch on some of the challenges encountered along the way.   We are hoping to inspire others to branch out and find their own path to becoming a vibrant epicenter of locavore activists.

Collective Impact: WI Farm to School: Do you know how many schools across Wisconsin are engaged in farm to school activities?  We don’t know either! Organizations and schools working on farm to school programs often focus their efforts internally, resulting in ‘isolated impact’ that limits our ability to make wide-spread changes across the food system.
Wisconsin has the capacity to be a national leader in the farm to school movement.  There is a wealth of amazing farm to school activities and resources across Wisconsin initiated by many passionate, talented people like you. With increased collaboration and coordination, Wisconsin Farm to School can not only engage more school districts, reach more children, and impact more farmers; we can also become a model for the entire country.
In 2011, The Stanford Social Innovation Review released a ground-breaking article on Collective Impact, and how to achieve meaningful results with Collective Impact. During this session, we will look at WI Farm to School, and the new role of DATCP to lead farm to school efforts across the State, through the lens of Collective Impact.
Specifically, this session will focus on the following four topics:

  • Vision: Share a unified Wisconsin Farm to School vision
  • Communication: Share a Wisconsin Farm to School “brand” and communication tools
  • Coordination and Collaboration: Articulate a clear delivery of services for Wisconsin Farm to School services, programming, and resources from different organizations across the State.
  • Evaluation: Identify a shared system of evaluation with which we can measure the collective impact of our activities

This session will serve as a working session for communities, individuals, and schools engaging in Farm to School.  Please join us to help shape the future of a robust Farm to School program across Wisconsin.

Community Collaboration through the Institute for Urban Agriculture and Nutrition – A Listening Session: The Institute for Urban Agriculture and Nutrition (IUAN) is being formed to meet one of the explicit goals of the WI Local Food Network: to “facilitate discussions intended to increase knowledge and understanding, foster connections, and plan action.” IUAN will be a collaboration of seven universities, the City of Milwaukee, Growing Power, and numerous community organizations represented through the Milwaukee Food Council. The intention is to combine the capacity of research and education institutions with the experience and front-line activities of community organizations to address issues of urban food systems and related implications in public health. The issues and modes of action will be defined through a Community Collaboration Council representing the spectrum of interests in and around Milwaukee.  This session will be an open forum to elicit ideas for research, outreach, and education that might become part of the IUAN agenda. We will start with a brief overview of potential structure and governance of IUAN and its member organizations. Then, we will ask several Milwaukee community organizations to provide perspectives on key issues related to food systems and public health. The session will conclude with an open-mike forum, guided by key questions on:
-research and outreach to support successful and safe urban agriculture;
-gaps in knowledge and training related to food security and its relation to health;
-university curricula to create jobs related to urban food systems and nutrition;
-creating productive on-going relations with existing organizations working on similar issues, including WLFN and numerous community organizations.

♥Developing a Roadmap to a More Resilient Food System: The ReFresh Milwaukee Sustainability Planning Process:  Milwaukee, a national manufacturing and food processing capital, historically has had a traditional institutional food system of food distributors, supermarkets, restaurants, farmers markets and corner stores. The city’s loss of more than 77,000 manufacturing jobs since 1970 has resulted in private disinvestment in city neighborhoods. Consequently, community assets such as grocery stores leave those neighborhoods.    Municipal governments are increasingly devoting formal attention to local food production and other food systems issues such as healthy food access. In Milwaukee, the lack of healthy food access is a deep and systemic local concern. Not only did Milwaukeeans place overwhelming importance on healthy food access in the 2012 Green Team public outreach process, but public health statistics bear out their concern. In 2012, District #4 (encompassing most of the city proper) was ranked 415th out of the nation’s 436 Congressional districts in health and well-being. According to the 2012 Milwaukee Health Report, “Milwaukee’s large population, poor health outcomes, and large health disparities – many associated with socioeconomic status – continue to have significant impact on the overall health of the state as well as the economic vibrancy of the city.”
In this presentation, we will recount the public outreach and planning process undertaken by Mayor Barrett’s Green Team, a 15-person advisory body of community stakeholders appointed to advise City staff on the development of its first sustainability plan. Published in 2013, the plan is a roadmap for purposeful actions leading to a more sustainable, resilient Milwaukee. A food system chapter is among the 8 chapters included in the plan. This presentation will also provide an update on actions underway with respect to Milwaukee’s food system. A move toward a more sustainable community food system in Milwaukee can benefit all people and neighborhoods, contributing to the overall vision of a sustainable resilient Milwaukee.

Developing Statewide Capacity to Support Food Processing Innovation: This presentation will involve two components: 1.) a mid-year update on the project funded by the Economic Development Administration called “Wisconsin Food Innovation Facility Opportunity Analysis” and 2.) an invitation to gather input from participants in Milwaukee and from around the State on challenges that small-scale food processors face in developing new value-added food products and growing their Wisconsin food processing business. We will present preliminary results of a statewide needs assessment to determine whether and how new public investment in food processing and manufacturing R&D support infrastructure will help entrepreneurs develop and market innovative new foods that add value to Wisconsin farm products. This project will investigate all aspects of existing and potential support infrastructure, which includes physical infrastructure to support entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and new product launches such as rentable kitchen space, recipe taste preference testing space, or laboratory space to help products become shelf-stable or gluten-free; informational infrastructure such as information on regulations and licensing to help entrepreneurs and businesses make more informed decisions and people infrastructure that can provide one-on-one business planning support and marketing analysis support. Unfortunately, these Wisconsin food entrepreneurs, emerging food businesses and established food manufacturing companies have few places to turn for unbiased, specialized technical assistance in product development, food manufacturing, supply chain management, and marketing.  And what few resources that do exist in Wisconsin are scattered, redundant, uncoordinated, and isolated. The goal of this project is to determine what challenges and obstacles prevent these Wisconsin food entrepreneurs, emerging food businesses and established food manufacturing companies to develop and market new value-added food products.

Engaging Youth in Food System Work, a youth farmers market in Iron County: Iron County is ranked one of the highest for rates of poverty and food insecurity in the state of Wisconsin. In the past, Iron County has had many family farms and thriving farmers markets. Now there are two family farms and a disappearing farmers market. As the county created its Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) repeated themes for the need for education and action regarding healthy food access, community building, and economic development were priorities. A desire to revitalize the farmers market was identified as a means to accomplish some of the CHIP goals. In addition, there is another repeated message in Iron County: youth have nothing to do. As a collaborative effort of several UWEX program areas (4H, Family Living, Horticulture, and Community Resource Development) as well as partnerships with public health and human services, the first Iron County Youth farmers market was born. Growing food in the new school community garden, selling food at the market, and touring regional farms were all components of this initiative. Educational programming discussing topics such as nutrition and leadership was provided to youth at each phase of the project and will continue beyond the market season. This initiative has been recognized as an outstanding example of multi-disciplinary programming within UWEX and an innovative response to community need. This presentation will share this success story with descriptions of partnerships, plans, budgets, outcomes, and next steps.

Farm strategies to increase food access/CSA membership for low income households: Learn from experienced farmers how to support low income households through on farm fundraising and fund distribution initiatives including EBT processing, assistance fund development and partnerships with non-profit organizations.

♥Farm to School: Creating a program that best suits your school!: There is no cookie cutter recipe for farm to school programs! Each school/ district has its’ own strengths and weakness, assets and barriers, all of which play a roll in the development and implementation of a farm to school program. Listen as food service directors from two Wisconsin school districts and their mutual community partner, Wellspring, share how they began and developed farm to school programs, each tailored to their schools’ unique situations. The presentation will cover everything from gaining support from administration and staff, to procuring local produce, starting a school garden to educational lessons. Further ideas and resources will be shared as well.

♥ Fighting Diabetes through Local Food Access in Milwaukee’s American Indian Community: The mission of the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc. (GLIIHC), Milwaukee’s only American Indian health center, is to serve the health, peace, and welfare of the urban Indian community—a community of almost 15,000 people.  Understanding that health happens in the places where people live, work, learn, and play, the agency has built upon its  medical, social, and behavioral health services to include health promotion and disease prevention work out in the community.   To address the startling findings on health disparities—American Indians suffer from diabetes more than any other segment of the population—GLIIHC’s Diabetes Program has engaged in advocacy work aimed at increasing public awareness and changing the food environment.   GLIIHC has undertaken several initiatives to improve healthy, culturally appropriate food access—including the Native Wellness Garden program, cooking classes, and a novel new program.   The presentation will share the stories of GLIIHC’s healthy local food access initiatives.

♣Financial Management for CSA farm success: Join John Hendrickson, Paul Dietman and a panel of growers to discuss CSA farm financials and profitability. The grower panel will be sharing facts and figures as well as advice on tools and systems to track financial performance through the season and over time. In addition to a frank discussion of the numbers, the conversation will be infused with quality of life issues and goals. A central question for this session is where the “sweet spot” may lie in terms of farm scale, income, and quality of life.

♥ Food Cooperatives as Drivers of Local Food Systems: Food Cooperatives have existed in the United States since the late 1960’s and have led the movement for heightened consumer awareness and education. A food co-op is governed by its members, who are also its owners, and subsequently respond to consumer and community demands quickly and adeptly.  Food cooperatives have played a key role in the distribution sector of local food systems since their initial appearance in the food delivery system here.  Across the nation, today, food cooperatives are not only establishing themselves in record numbers in what is being called the third wave of cooperative development, but are thriving where conventional groceries are struggling largely as a result of the growing consumer demand for local food.  Colleen will speak generally about cooperatives and also specifically about the formation of the Wild Root Market in Racine.

Food Fight! Columbia County Farm to School Using Food and Fun to Tackle Our Nation’s Big Issues: The steps Columbia County Farm to School took in its first year to create comprehensive Farm to School programs in  4 school districts.  The logistics of how we started school gardens, local school lunch procurement, and Harvest of the Month programming.  Secondly, a look into why our programming is important from three standpoints: energy independence, healthy economies and healthcare systems.Financial Management for CSA Farm Success

Food Hubs: A Look at What’s Happening Now: Food hubs are strengthening local food systems by developing and transforming critical food infrastructure. As defined by the USDA, food hubs are businesses or organizations that actively manage the aggregation, distribution, storage and processing of local and regional food products. Our discussion will address some of the innovative ways that foods hubs are enhancing farm viability and increasing access to local food, in addition to the nuts and bolts of operation and advanced topics such as the role of food hubs in the larger context of our food distribution system. Hear from practitioners of online and ‘brick and mortar’ food hubs about their lessons learned, customer trends, logistics, and solutions!

♥ Gardening as Therapy, Health Enhancement and Empowerment – Two Program Models: Organic Therapy – A Debriefing.  Why is “Organic Therapy” helpful to veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and related conditions.  “Organic Therapy” is a tool that can help others suffering from PTSD, no matter what the genesis of the condition. A garden is a “safe” place to share.  Health Enhancement in Latino Community Through Gardening.  Sixteenth Street Community Health Center (SSCHC) & Wellspring Education Center & Organic Farm collaborated in this Gardening Education Program. Community gardening is not as attractive to many Latino immigrant families, partially due to recent or historical experiences as migrant workers. The program is designed for the FAMILY to bring gardening to low-income communities to positively impact food security and health and to take advantage of previous agricultural experiences of many Latino immigrant families in Milwaukee. This minority group is growing exponentially in the US as much as their obesity rates, and recommend that this experience be replicated in other areas of WI.  Both presentations will include “things learned” (data) and information on how to structure a successful program of your own.

♥♣Growing a Neighborhood Food Network and Young Farmers in Milwaukee: Community collaboration is necessary to establish and grow a neighborhood food network. The Riverwest neighborhood is an excellent case study, with multiple levels of collaboration leading to progress on establishing a neighborhood food network. Two Riverwest residents who are involved in this effort will describe the community engagement, progress being made, and a unique youth engagement program called the Young Farmers.  Jan Christensen, Community Organizer in Riverwest, will describe the growth of the community engagement that is making strides towards creating a local food network. Working with community partners, Jan organized Kilbourn Garden, which grew out of residents’ expressed desire for community gardens. The garden is now Groundwork Milwaukee’s largest community garden. She has been intimately involved in the local food movement in Milwaukee and beyond.     When Jan Christiansen met Nick DeMarsh, the two discussed ways to engage youth at the garden.  Together, the Jan and Nick co-founded The Young Farmers of Milwaukee Program.  The Young Farmers are high school students who grow produce at Kilbourn Garden and make weekly deliveries of fresh produce (CSA shares) by bike. As the program enters its third year, in 2014, the Young Farmers will take on additional CSA members and act as mentors to new youth in the program. The Young Farmers Program demonstrates how, given the right tools and community support, teens can help shape the future of our food system.

Growing Community Food Systems:  Developing Institutional Partnerships: 1. Leanne Carlson & Rande Daykin – Hillview Urban Agriculture Center in La Crosse, WI, developed a unique collaboration with Western Technical College and Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Health Care towards a shared mission of “creating a healthy community through a local, sustainable and accessible food system”.  Leanne Carlson will discuss the key challenges and benefits of developing these partnerships and Rande will discuss Western’s involvement in sustainability and energy work and then talk more broadly about the college’s role in partnerships and community development and how certain practices, concepts, and funding realities are guiding other two-year colleges in Wisconsin to seek new partnerships and partnership models in their communities.     2. Jeremy Solin – What motivates people to get engaged in community food systems?  I believe sense of place may be a primary motivator among food systems advocates and activists.  This presentation will provide an overview of sense of place and explore the relationship between sense of place and community food systems.  Specifically aspects of place identity, continuity and meaning will be explored.  My research on this topic with founders, staff and volunteers of formal and informal local foods organizations in Wisconsin will be discussed.  Recommendations for developing place-based community food systems will be shared.  Through activities and discussion, participants will be encouraged to reflect on and share their sense of place and how it relates to their interest and involvement in local foods.

Growing Health: Using Youth Gardens to Increase Access and Appetites for Local Food: Gardens at early childhood, school, and afterschool sites increase access to local food, while also supporting positive changes in children’s knowledge, attitudes, and consumption of local fruits and vegetables. The Wisconsin School Garden Initiative is a three-year project of Community GroundWorks seeking to employ youth gardening and garden-based education to improve child health outcomes. Through training, resource development, and evaluation focused on the importance of school gardens and garden-based education, the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative provides support to schools, child care centers, and after-school programs across the state.    In this session, participants will learn why youth gardens are an integral component in a resilient food system, share techniques for implementing and sustaining youth gardens in Wisconsin, and partake in hands-on youth garden activities.

♣ Helping Others Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor: Seasonal Menu Planning for CSA Farms and Farmer’s Market Shoppers:

Many CSA farms struggle with maintaining their members from year to year. Attrition is frequently attributed to members’ struggle to cook everything in their weekly shares. This “veggie guilt” drives away CSA members and often intimidates others from joining.  So what’s a farm to do? How can you help your members close the cycle and put their veggies on their plate, and not in the compost? Join Chef Pat Mulvey as she shares several online and cookbook resources that will help members make the most of their CSA share or Farmer’s Market Finds. Learn about the FairShare Coalition’s new cookbook, Farm Fresh and Fast and its method of teaching “master recipes” that are flexible enough to use many different vegetables. Brainstorm ways to improve your farm’s recipe lists, and how to engage your community in the cooking of local foods. We will also examine value-added partnerships with other food businesses that some farms are using to bring the meal together more easily.

Hunting for Sustainability: Conservation and Local, Free-Range Protein: Sustainable use of renewable resources to obtain protein (hunting) is a perfect fit for an increasingly conservation oriented world.  Today’s young adults have demonstrated strong interest in lower impact living, food co-ops, farmer’s markets, sustainable agriculture and slow food.  Hunting is a natural part of this movement. Many of this generation did not follow the “natural path” into hunting and are not now hunters. They do, however, show substantial interest in hunting as a source of local food.
This interest can lead to learning more about conservation, agriculture and Wisconsin’s natural resources.  Hunting is a lifestyle of intricate connections with the natural environment, a decline in hunter numbers has resulted in concerns regarding the future of both hunting and the course of wildlife conservation in general.
Hunting for one’s protein results in a deeper connection to food and an expanded understanding of the natural connections of ecosystems.  Wisconsin’s woods and waters can provide local, sustainable, free-range food that can be shared in a common supportive community. The Department of Natural Resources is offering pilot continuing education courses that aim to show how hunting is directly connected to conservation and healthy living and teach novice adults to hunt.  This talk will introduce the audience to hunting and provide additional information about Hunting for Sustainability.

The Impact of Farmers’ Market EBT on SNAP Participants, Farmers and Communities: The number of farmers’ market electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs is multiplying in Wisconsin making fresh Wisconsin agricultural products more available than ever for FoodShare participants.  Who benefits from this rapid expansion?  Learn about a recent study conducted with ten Wisconsin farmers’ markets to measure the costs and benefits of adding an EBT program to a farmers market for FoodShare participants, farmers’ markets, vendors and the community. 

Innovative CSA Member Involvement: This panel of farmers and farm members will discuss their creative strategies for increasing CSA member engagement and involvement. significant reliance on worker shares, member organized events/deliveries/cooking demos/etc, other member initiated activities (pick up location coordination, farm budget/finance influence, farm planning input, etc).

Local foods, community health, and food security – latest research on patterns and relationships: Presenters will provide a brief overview of the literature base connecting public health and food security to local foods systems. In addition, we will present the early findings of an ongoing exploratory analysis in which we look for patterns in the relationship between local foods and community health. This analysis matches local foods characteristics from the US Agriculture Census (2007) to public health variables collected and collated in the County Health Rankings (2010) by UW Madison Population Health Institute in collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Presenters will also expose session participants to public data portals allowing data downloads, mapping, and inquiry tools for the food systems and health indicators used in the presented analysis. These can be found at and

Milwaukee’s Fondy Food Center – From Farm to Table: The mission of Milwaukee’s Fondy Food Center is to connect North Side Milwaukee to locally grown, fresh food – from the farm to the table. Located in the heart of what many call a ʺfood desert,ʺ the agency works to create healthy farmers, healthy food, and healthy people. From its beginnings as Milwaukee’s oldest and longest running farmers market, the Fondy Food Center grown its scope of operations to include one of the region’s most robust farmers market food stamp redemption systems, a vegetable consumption incentive program, a comprehensive cooking demonstration effort, and the Fondy Farm Project, an 80-acre farm in nearby Port Washington. This lively presentation will show how food makes its way from the farm to supper tables on Milwaukee’s North Side. Presenters will also make the case for not calling inner city Milwaukee a ʺfood desert.ʺ

♥Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN: Food Initiatives Catalyzing Community Economic Development & Healthier Neighborhoods: This presentation details how Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN Initiative is simultaneously tackling access to healthy food and neighborhood revitalization in our most challenged North Side communities.  HOME GR/OWN’s program objectives are on two parallel paths: 1) a new concentration of social resources in one neighborhood, catalyzing neighborhood stabilization and redevelopment and generating wealth through a focus on new food-based entrepreneurship in growing, processing and distribution; 2) a citywide effort to bolster the community food system via “connecting the dots” and bolstering capacity among the NGOs that have already put Milwaukee on the map as a major urban agriculture center.
This presentation will address:

  • The Bloomberg Mayors Challenge that spawned this initiative
  • The amazing groundwork created by Milwaukee’s food community
  • The current state of public health in Milwaukee’s most challenged communities
  • The unique tying of foreclosures, vacant land and community food development
  • Why a focus on food-based initiatives?
  • Challenges faced by the City upon program implementation and how they were overcome
  • Planned activities in 2014 and beyond
  • The “bigness” and replicability of the HOME GR/OWN idea

Moving local food to wholesale markets: lessons from practitioners: This session will address ways that Extension, non-profits, Farm-to-School advocates and local food enthusiasts can improve access to local food in our communities.  Creating new intermediated food supply chains – where farmers and consumers are indirectly linked through warehouses, distributors, processors, wholesale buyers, and retail managers – requires extensive local knowledge of the people and other resources necessary to bring local food to market.  It is a small business development opportunity and is impacting how we think about how our food is transported.  In February 2013, USDA-AMS, UW-CIAS and a regional business consortium co-hosted 100 regional business, government, and university leaders to explore innovations in intermediated, regional food supply chains and discuss their significance for transportation infrastructure and planning.  Participants shared their experiences in developing regional food system logistics, market differentiation, first and last mile concerns, all with implications for regional food supply chain resilience.

Nonprofit 101: Starting a nonprofit or “growing” it can be challenging.  What should be considered?. What other options exist? What structures or models make sense for stages of development? What is the role of a board of directors? What are required policies, filings, etc.?    Angela Rester has been the executive director of eight different nonprofits during the last 29 years. She has been in nonprofit work for 49 years in one person operations to 200 staff; from $28,000 annual budget to $2.6 million. She understands both sides of nonprofits having served as staff liaison to 8 boards of directors and as board director on over 22 boards and president/chair of six of those.  These and numerous committee experiences, as well as, extensive training give her unique skills related to nonprofits. Angie also serves as a consultant to nonprofits since 2000. She is a certified Diagnostic Clinician and has led the Executive Director Leaders Circle at the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee for 13 years.
This session will review roles of the board, various types of nonprofit structure, required paperwork, filing for nonprofit designation, annual filing requirements, records that should be maintained, 990 filing, policies required and more.

Please pass the potatoes – and Local Foods-friendly policies! How to speak up and take charge in Madison and Washington: Make sure that government has got your back!  As farmers, consumers, educators, and entrepreneurs, many of you reached out and helped pass renewed funding for the Buy Local Buy Wisconsin program in 2013.  Last Fall, many of you also submitted comments on how to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act without jeopardizing the profitability of smaller farmers.  Attend this session to develop skills and share strategies for influencing state and federal policy to support local foods.  Learn inside tips for the best way to reach out to legislators, how to tell your stories effectively, and share your own success stories in advocating for local foods at the local, state, and federal levels.

Resources and Technical Assistance for WI Local Food Producers: Local Food Producer Development resources and technical assistance are continuing needs in our state to keep the local food market moving forward. As demand continues to outpace supply, we must provide the tools necessary to assist beginning local food producers and keep existing producers profitable. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is one of many organizations that provide some tools/resources/technical assistance to address this need. This presentation will focus on DATCP efforts such as: The new version of producers first, Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin (BLBW) grant program, BLBW workshop roadshow, etc. This will be an interactive session with opportunities to provide feedback on existing programs and to identify future needs for the industry.

Rural Resilience in Assisted Living: Good food is a long-term investment in good health. As long term care providers for elderly people and people with disabilities, our company has worked to make good food available to our residents and staff to help improve everyone’s health and well-being. Over the past three years, we have developed and implemented a food program that  provides high quality local foods to over 50 residents and the staff that serve them. Our residents are recipients of government aid and have minimal incomes.

In similar facilities, residents often eat low quality processed foods that are purchased by the provider as a way of keeping operating costs down. In our program, we have used holistic, fiscally responsible methods of integrating more healthful foods into peoples’ diets. In the process, we recycle the tax dollars that pay the residents’ rates into the local economy. The program provides good nutrition to our residents, healthy shift meals and cooking skills for our staff, and supports local farmers. Finally, the program works toward our overall mission of providing quality and sustainable long term care.
We strongly feel that it is important for providers to embrace this type of philosophy in order to maintain the viability of the long term care system in the future. This presentation outlines the challenges, successes, and opportunities we have discovered in the process of creating this program and generates a strong case for other providers to engage in similar pursuits.

StorySelling: Telling Better Stories, Building Better Connections: Throughout history, stories have taught, sold and moved individuals and the masses, and the skill remains valuable today as people become more educated and skeptical of our food and farming system. They want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. They want to connect with “their farmer.” Farmers want to pass knowledge on to young farmers. Professionals need to meaningfully connect with consumers. Young people everywhere want to change the world. No matter how you’re involved in the sustainable food and farming movement, storytelling can unite and move people to action more effectively than sales pitches or PR spin ever will—while allowing you to just be you.  In this participatory workshop, we will explore why storytelling remains important in today’s electronic age and how doing it effectively can benefit your farm, food business and mission. We will learn what goes into a “good” story, then write and build upon your own in a friendly, supportive writing workshop environment with an experienced writer to facilitate the process. The way this workshop is designed, it welcomes participants of all storytelling levels to teach, learn from and support each other.

Strengthening the local food movement through the law: organizing businesses, complying with regulations, and satisfying legal obligations: Agriculture emerged long before civilized governments, so it should come as no surprise that even today, the law has trouble keeping up with the dynamic relationships between farmers and eaters. Amy and Rachel will talk about the most pressing legal concerns emerging in the local food movement, today: complying with regulations, forming businesses, working with employees, food safety liability, and more. This session will introduce attendees to the practical requirements of the law for farmers and food processors. In addition, the audience will join in a discussion of why these issues present an opportunity for farmers and food advocates to shape our emerging local food system.

♥Tikkun Ha-Ir’s Surplus Harvest Project: “Rescued” Food’s Role in Reducing Hunger Locally: The presentation will focus on the evolution of an idea to donate a small amount of garden produce to a pantry six years ago into a vibrant food justice project. This growing season over 25,000 pounds of fresh, whole foods has been donated to pantries, meal sites and shelters. Surplus Harvest has evolved to include: increasing its food donation and recipient base, helping extend the harvest through food preservation, providing seedlings to community gardens, education, advocacy and action to reduce food insecurity, helping provide experiential learning about healthy eating and food preparation, being creative when growing conditions do not match expectations for donations, collaborating with other food security projects in order to make locally grown food accessible and affordable for those living in poverty, and more.

Vibrant Farmer Alliances: Best Practices from C.R.A.F.Ts (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) in the U.S. and Canada: Founded in 1997, Upper Midwest C.R.A.F.T. (serving farmers and farming enthusiasts in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois) is the second oldest grassroots farmer network of its kind in the U.S., and there are now about 25 regional C.R.A.F.T. farmer networks across the US and Canada. In January 2014 a 3-day conference on farmer networks took place at Hawthorne Valley Farm—a member of the first-ever C.R.A.F.T. farmer alliance—with administrators from over 20 farmer networks across North America, including many C.R.A.F.T. alliances, with the primary objective of sharing best practices and strengthening and expanding the capacity of our farmer networks. This presentation will feature the results from our gathering, as well as share information about Upper Midwest C.R.A.F.T., which consists of nearly 100 farm families committed to farming sustainably, training beginning farmers and sharing farming expertise and experience within the alliance.

Wisconsin’s Harvest Medley: Healthy Blends for WI Schools: Farm to School is a growing movement and potentially significant marketing opportunity for producers.  Due to tight budgets and highly efficient school food service operations, having minimally processed yet healthful and local products available through regular distribution channels, such as prime vendors or produce distributors, can help make participation in farm to school programs more accessible for both schools and producers. Reaching this potentially high volume and stable market involves the development of strong partnerships across the supply chain, from producers to processors to distributors to schools. The Specialty Crop Block grant project Wisconsin’s Harvest Medley: Healthy Blends for WI Schools is exploring this opportunity through two different supply chain models in the state. This session will highlight the supply chain partnerships formed in both the eastern and southwestern areas of the state to tackle the challenge of providing schools access to appropriately priced, value-added and local vegetables, in the form of diced root vegetable blends, ready to roast, season and serve. The multi-stakeholder Fifth Season Cooperative in SW WI, as well as supply chain partners in SE WI will be featured as examples of initiatives committed to building regional food systems as part of day to day business. The session will also feature the marketing approaches utilized by the project, such as the creation of an educational video and accompanying materials, to reach schools, students, families and other key stakeholders with the “values-added” story of these products, from seed to lunch tray.

Working on the Farm: Agricultural Labor in Local Food Systems: While the public image of farms in the local food system is one of a family-scale operation, the reality is that additional labor is necessary for most of these farms to operate. This labor can take a variety of forms from interns and worker shares, seasonal employees and the “hired hand” to extended family labor. Each presents particular challenges when trying to build a socially sustainable and just local food system. Drawing from initial results of a survey and interviews with Driftless Area farmers and farm workers, this presentation explores the various forms of labor arrangements that currently exist in that local food system. It examines what it means to be a “good employer” from the perspectives of both farmers and farm workers and highlights the tension many farmers feel between their ideal labor organization and the realities of their economic constraints. This presentation concludes by discussing ways that farmers have been able to resolve that tension and suggests additional ways that advocates can work to enhance the social sustainability of local food systems.

Workplace CSA, Building New Markets with Creative Partnerships: Workplace CSA programs, when well developed and implemented with an eye to long-term farm and business partnerships, are a promising structure for new market development and member recruitment.  With the right workplace partners, a CSA farm can add value to their shares through educational opportunities, incentives provided through the workplace, and efficient outreach and delivery. FairShare CSA Coalition has been working with business partners to develop workplace CSA program materials and structures to assist businesses and farms in partnering to deliver CSA shares to employee bases. This workshop will focus on one newly developed pilot workplace CSA program and will provide tips and resources to consumers looking to develop workplace CSA delivery sites at their own workplaces or in their community, and to farmers seeking connections with local businesses. On the business/consumer end, topics such as needs assessment, employee recruitment, ongoing education, incentive development, and wellness/green team tie-in will be addressed. On the farmer side topics such as approaching HR departments, identifying and cultivating long-term partnerships, and unique elements of workplace deliveries will be addressed.