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.


Let’s Not Reinvent the Wheel

Farmers and ranchers have a unique opportunity to meet consumer demand for sustainably produced food. But they need to start working together to develop regional brands and to identify ways to use existing food infrastructure.


Read the newspapers or turn on the radio or TV and you’ll hear that the world’s economies are in bad shape. Jobs aren’t being created fast enough, banks aren’t lending money to small businesses and we are all under a mountain of debt. State and local governments are struggling to pay their bills, and Washington politicians bicker over the best way to create a lasting recovery while also paying for our future obligations.

Yet even in this business and economic environment, small to mid-sized farmers and ranchers are developing new products, entering new markets and getting the attention of major retailers across the country. So how is this possible? Continue reading

Say Cheese!

Pimento cheese, a common item found in the south has made its entrance into Milwaukee!

Bon Appétit named pimento cheese one of the top food trends of 2011 and has been cropping up on  menus at some of New York’s trendiest restaurants, in everything from scalloped potatoes to sushi. And now, just in time to spice up holiday hors d’oeuvres or leftover turkey sandwiches, a taste of the South has migrated into the Wisconsin dairy case: Martha’s Pimento Cheese.

Martha’s Pimento Cheese is a fresh take on the iconic Southern staple, combining aged Wisconsin Cheddar, peppers, a dash of seasoning and a touch of mayonnaise. The cook behind the curtain is Martha Davis Kipcak, a phenomenal local food force and community food organizer in Milwaukee. She is the Regional Governor of Slow Food USA, the Food Program Manager with the Center for Resilient Cities, integral in starting the Milwaukee Food Council and has been an invaluable resource as an advisory committee member with the Wisconsin Local Food Network.

Martha’s Pimento Cheese can be purchased in Milwaukee at Clock Shadow Creamery, Larry’s Market, Glorioso’s and Beans & Barley. As more retail outlets are added weekly, up-to-date information can be found online.

Read the full OnMilwaukee article by Lori Fredrich at:

Looking to try pimento cheese for the first time? Here are a few suggestions for putting it to good use.

  1. Eat by the spoonful, straight from the refrigerator.
  2. Spread it on crisp, hot toast for a decidedly Wisconsin breakfast.
  3. Fill celery stalks with pimento cheese for a quick snack.
  4. Pimento cheese makes great jalapeno poppers. For a quick and easy appetizer, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut eight large jalapeno peppers in half and scoop out the seeds. Fill the jalapenos with pimento cheese and wrap each piece in a half strip of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and place the jalapenos on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake the poppers for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and cooked through.
  5. Use as a stuffing for mushroom caps.
  6. For a punched-up grilled cheese sandwich, spread a thick layer of pimento cheese between two slices of buttered bread. Add crisp bacon and grill to perfection.
  7. Spread some on your next burger or hot dog.
  8. Try adding it to your next batch of homemade macaroni and cheese for a peppery, almost smoky effect.
  9. Use as a topping for hot broccoli or cauliflower.
  10. When summer returns, take Martha’s advice and use the cheese for a homegrown tomato and pimento cheese pie.

Adapted from the OnMilwaukee article by Lori Fredrich

Do you have any food success stories you would like to have the Wisconsin Local Food Network showcase? If so, email Andrew Bernhardt at with your ideas and suggestions! THANKS!