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.

Farmers Needed in Africa – Farming and Teaching Opps (No formal teaching experience needed!)

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES 2014. We need your skills!

GHANA or UGANDA: Teach at Agricultural College No teaching or university
experience necessary.
What is needed are farmers with a strong background in organic farming, perma-culture and/or sustainable agriculture.

RWANDA: Cooperative Management
After the genocide and after much agonizing reconciliation work, organizations and the national government realized that the next step is having Hutus and Tutsis working side by side.  More than any other African country, Rwanda emphasizes cooperatives.  Come help teach how to run and manage a cooperative.

UGANDA: Dairy Farming
Experienced dairy farmers are needed to help improve production and milk yield.  Heifer International helped launch dairy program and now 10 years later, floundering dairy farmers need guidance on what to feed the animals and other best practices to improve yield.

UGANDA: Poultry Farming
A Domestic Violence program plans to sustain their organization by having 3,000 laying hens which supply eggs to Kenya.  They need help with preventing disease amongst poultry and preventing salmonella; of learning best practices for poultry farming.

CAMEROON or INDONESIA: Rural development Farmers in the rural villages in these countries are just starting to learn organic farming and sustainable agriculture.
They are eager to learn more about composting; rain water harvesting; drip irrigation; soil improvement & crop rotation.  Their goal? Improved yields so that they can sell some of their crops so they can afford a mosquito net.  When I was out in the villages in Cameroon, they barely had food to eat; and did not have $5 for a doctor visit.

ANTIGUA: Agri-Tourism
Farmers barely eke out a living on the Caribbean island of Antigua either.  The government has launched an initiative to build alternative livelihoods for the farmers.  Do you have a creative mind? An entrepreneurial spirit?  Come help farmers build alternative enterprises that attracts tourists to their farm:  e.g. live music; local food served; history tour; or a demonstration of
making steel drums.

Children’s Center for AIDS orphans feeds their children from the food grown out back. Come help in the fields!

Both experienced farmers & students needed.

Interested?  Please read NGOabroad website and send answered Questionnaire and resume to:

These are volunteer opportunities.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Local Food Co-op Awards $16,000 in Micro-loans and Grants

ASHLAND, WI – Just in time for the 2013 summer planting season, the Chequamegon Food Co-op awarded $16,000 in micro-loans and grants. Both programs were developed in an effort to help farmers build a stronger local food economy and to provide more local foods for the Co-op’s shelves.

The Co-op’s micro-loan program began in 2008 as a way for the cooperative business to invest its profits in the local food system. Loans are capped at $2,500 and have a 2-year payback period. Micro-loan recipients were as follows:

  • Michael Stanitis of Sassy Nanny Farmstead Cheese in Herbster, Wis. received a loan for fencing materials to be used as part of a forest/pasture rotational grazing system for dairy goats.
  • The McCutchen family of Angel Acres Farm in Mason, Wis. received loans to boost production of both farm-fresh eggs and pastured pork.
  • Xander Waters and Melissa Helman of Mammoth Pastures in Ashland, Wis. received loans to purchase plants, electric fencing, and greenhouse materials.

This year, the Co-op also offered $5,000 in grant money. These funds were made available due to the generous support of private donors. Grant recipients were as follows:

  • Landis and Steven Spickerman of Hermit Creek Farm in High Bridge, Wis. received funds to insulate their new pack and storage building for vegetables. This building will help Hermit Creek increase production of their high-quality, certified organic vegetables that have been a staple of the store for twenty plus years.
  • Tom Galazen and Ann Rosenquist of North Wind Organic Farm in Bayfield, Wis. received funds to convert an old Allis Chalmers G cultivating tractor from diesel to solar electric energy. The tractor will be used for environmentally friendly and efficient weeding of the sweet and beautiful berries that have been a perennial favorite at the Co-op since the 1980s.
  • Todd and Kelsey Rothe of River Road Farm in Marengo, Wis. will use their funds to assist in the building of a new wash and pack station for fresh greens and other vegetables.
  • Brian Clements of Northcroft Farm in Mason, Wis. received funds for farmers’ market display equipment including stands and baskets.
  • The McCutchen family of Angel Acres Farm in Mason, Wis. received funds to assist in an effort to develop an effective pastured poultry system for farm fresh eggs. The McCutchens will build an “egg-mobile” to move their chickens to fresh pasture on a regular basis.
  • Chris Duke of Great Oak Farm in Mason, Wis. and a few neighboring farms submitted a collaborative proposal to purchase a Jang brand crop seeder. The two-wheeled push seeder directly sows seeds into the soil at appropriate spacing. The seeder will be used primarily for vegetable crops such as carrots, beets, and salad mix.

To learn more about the Chequamegon Food Co-op micro-loan program and community grants, please contact Alan Spaude-Filipczak, local food projects coordinator, at (715) 682-8251 or

The Chequamegon Food Co-operative is a member-owned natural foods store that specializes in local products within 100 miles of Ashland, Wisconsin.