“Good Food for All” was on the menu at Café Wren in Luck on the evening of Saturday, September 29th. The evening’s fundraising dinner helped kick start the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network’s “Good Food for All” program through donations from area community members, who contributed $25-$100 each for a local foods dinner prepared by area farmers, chefs, and community members.
Regional Food Network Coordinator Tracey Mofle welcomed guests to the dinner, explaining that “the funds raised tonight will go directly toward subsidizing the costs of food purchased from local farmers by and for those in need.” She went on to say that the program would help low-income community members access healthy, local foods in three ways: by subsidizing the wholesale cost of local foods purchased through West Wind Community Co-op for low-income meal programs like senior dining and summer feeding sites, by providing discounted CSA shares and other produce to customers using food stamps through West Wind’s Local Ordering Service, and by providing coupon incentives for those who use food stamps, WIC and senior nutrition program vouchers at area farmers’ markets.
The Cornucopia Institute’s Mark Kastel addressed the fifty attendees with information about the health benefits of organic, local and sustainably raised foods in contrast with those obtained through the industrial food system. Singer/songwriter Ailinn followed Kastel on the stage with her original poetry and folk music.
The more than $500 raised from the dinner event will be used by program organizers to secure matching funds from area foundations and donors. These community funds will directly offset food costs and ensure farmers receive a fair price when providing food for low-income, local customers. The fund will complement a recent USDA Farmers’ Market Promotion Program grant awarded to West Wind Community Co-op for building its ability to serve low-income families through accepting food stamps.
Local farms and businesses who donated to the event include Café Wren, Grecco’s on the St. Croix, Indian Creek Orchard Winery & Grille, Anathoth Community Farm, Serendipity Springs, J & R Growers, Blackbrook Farm, and Foxtail Farm.
The Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network plans to hold more fundraising dinners to benefit the “Good Food for All” program throughout the region during the coming fall and winter. Contact Tracey Mofle at 715-790-9177 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and to help support this program.
West Denmark Lutheran Church’s Sunday Service will be part of something bigger on Sunday, September 30th—and not just in the usual way. West Denmark worshipers will join with others at the Soupstock IV harvest festival at Anathoth Community Farm outside of Luck for a 10:00 am service like no other, in an outdoor tent right on the farm.
Led by West Denmark Pastor Mike Rozumalski, the Soupstock Ecumenical Service will be open to those from all faith backgrounds. For those who come early, an on-farm breakfast, wild edibles walk, Qigong session, music, and other activities will precede the service from 8:00 – 10:00 am. Immediately following at 11:00 am will be a family sing-along, activities for children of all ages including fairy house building, sustainable living tours, and a native pollinators workshop.
The decision to merge the service with the harvest festival came easily to the event’s organizers. “Our Soupstock events are geared for families and focused on building community,” says Soupstock planning committee member Tracey Mofle. “Having a service can really enhance the experience of being out on the farm for our festival-goers. With a Sunday event, we realize it’s hard for many families to miss church, so we try to bring church to them.”
Mofle explained that different farms throughout northwest Wisconsin take turns hosting the annual Soupstock event. “We were thrilled when we found out West Denmark was willing to work with us this year as we hold Soupstock in the Luck area – I think it’s a really good fit,” she says.
The fee for Soupstock admission ($5 for adults and $10 for families and carpools) will be waived for those just attending the service. Family activities including mural painting, “veggie races,” cow pie bingo, and more will run throughout the late morning and afternoon. A free cup of local soup comes with the admission price. In addition to the farm breakfast, which also commemorates Anathoth Community Farm’s 25th Anniversary, a full lunch menu will be available.
For more information on Soupstock IV, including directions to Anathoth Community Farm, visit the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network’s website at www.nwrfn.org or contact Arianne Peterson at 715-554-3735 or email@example.com. Information on West Denmark Lutheran Church is available at www.westdenmark.org.
On Sunday, September 30th, Anathoth Community Farm in rural Luck will host Soupstock IV, an annual harvest festival put on by the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network. Soupstock IV will celebrate organic and sustainable food and farming with a variety of activities from 8:30 – 5:00.
This year's event will feature keynote speaker Mark Kastel, co-founder and Senior Farm Policy Analyst of the Cornucopia Institute, at 1:00 pm.
Kastel’s keynote presentation, “Restoring Integrity in Our Food Systems” will focus on building resilient, community-based food systems that strengthen regional economies and benefit our health. Kastel, a national expert on food choices and their impact on our health will share his organization’s experience in working to preserve the integrity of local and organic foods on the national policy level. The Cornucopia Institute’s mission is to promote economic justice for family scale farming. The Institute has a strong membership base throughout the country and is based in Cornucopia, Wisconsin.
Kastel is frequently quoted in the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and also appears often on Wisconsin and National Public Radio.
In addition to the keynote talk, which will include a Town Hall style community conversation, Soupstock IV will feature other speakers and workshops on sustainable-agriculture. Workshop topics will include local food and public health, permaculture, native pollinators, and sustainable living systems.
Music, a farmers’ market, information and demonstration areas, cider pressing, veggie races, a mural painting, and many other activities for kids and adults will run throughout the day.
The goal of the event is to raise awareness about food and farming issues, allowing people to experience and celebrate farms in the region. Past Soupstock events have been held at the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary & Nature Center in Sarona and Little Footprint Farm in Turtle Lake. This year’s event is co-sponsored by Island City Co-op, Martha's Mushrooms, McKinley Enterprises, Cafe Wren, Natural Alternative Co-op, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Extension, Main Street Market Co-op, West Wind Community Co-op, Anathoth Community Farm, Land Stewardship Project, Michael Fields Agriculture Institute, Wisconsin Farmers' Union, Fine Acres Market, Sterling Homestead, and Farmer to Farmer.
For more information on Soupstock IV, including directions to Anathoth Community Farm, visit the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network’s website at www.nwrfn.org or contact Tracey Mofle at 715-790-9177 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Cornucopia Institute is available at www.cornucopia.org.
Anathoth Community Farm of rural Luck and Community Homestead of rural Osceola will host UW-Extension composting expert, Jonathan Rivin, for a two-part workshop on Monday, August 6th from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. The workshop is targeted to commercial-scale vegetable growers from throughout the northwest Wisconsin region.
The workshop will begin at 8:30a.m. at Anathoth Community Farm with a short presentation on the variety of composting methods used on small-medium size farms followed by a tour and discussion about how to scale up composting activities at Anathoth. Participants should plan to carpool or drive from Anathoth to the Osceola site around 10:30 a.m. Community Homestead farm managers will provide a tour and demonstration of the composting methods used on their farm, including compost tea production. Please bring a bag lunch and rain gear; drinks will be provided.
Jonathan Rivin is a Waste Management Specialist with the UW Extension, Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC), at the University of Wisconsin. Jonathan’s expertise is in organic waste management, with an emphasis in composting. Anathoth Community Farm has recently expanded into pastured poultry, pastured pork, and commercial vegetable production for West Wind Community Co-op. Community Homestead is a non-profit rural community living and working with people with special needs. Their business enterprises include an organic dairy, an organic bakery, and a large-scale market garden that supports their CSA, the Osceola Farmers’ Market, West Wind Community Co-op and other retail markets.
Anathoth Community Farm is located at 740 Round Lake Road, Luck, WI. As you arrive, follow the main gravel driveway all the way back to where it ends at their market garden site. Community Homestead is located at 501 280th St, Osceola, WI. As you arrive at Community Homestead, enter the driveway just to the north of the dairy barn and follow back to the Community Center.
This workshop is co-sponsored by UW-Extension, the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network and the Hay River Transition Initiative. For more information or to pre-register (not required), please email or call Tracey Mofle at email@example.com or (715) 790-9177.
Organic Vegetable Farmer, Author Atina Diffley to Speak at Local Foods Reception in Prairie Farm and Rice Lake
On Sunday, June 17th and Monday, June 18th, the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network will collaborate with the Rice Lake Public Library, the Hay River Transition Initiative, and Main Street Market to welcome celebrated organic vegetable farmer and author Atina Diffley as part of a Local Foods Reception series honoring area growers and local food efforts. The events will be held from 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Sunday, the 17th at the Prairie Farm Village Hall, and from 7:00-9:00 in the Rice Lake Public Library’s Friendship Room; both will feature light local and organic refreshments produced by area farmers. The public is encouraged to attend these free receptions.
Atina Diffley, who has over twenty-five years’ experience as an organic farmer and farming consultant, will share excerpts from her new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works. A memoir of making essential relationships work in the face of challenges as natural as weather and as unnatural as corporate politics, Turn Here Sweet Corn is a firsthand history of getting in at the “ground level” of organic farming. One of the first certified organic produce farms in the Midwest, the Diffleys’ Gardens of Eagan helped to usher in a new kind of green revolution in the heart of America’s farmland. After surviving punishing storms and the devastating loss of fifth-generation Diffley family land to suburban development, the Diffleys faced the ultimate challenge: the threat of eminent domain for a crude oil pipeline proposed by one of the largest privately owned companies in the world, Koch Industries. As Atina Diffley tells her David-versus-Goliath tale, she gives readers everything from expert instruction in organic farming to an entrepreneur’s manual on how to grow a business to a legal thriller about battling corporate arrogance to a love story about a single mother falling for a good, big-hearted man. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the events, where Diffley will also sign them, and two copies will be donated to the Rice Lake Public Library.
The Local Foods Reception will also highlight several regional farmers, who are working together with others through West WInd Community Co-op to provide fresh, healthy produce and other organic products to schools, hospitals, and other wholesale and individual customers in the region. No RSVP is required for this free event; for more information, please contact Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network Coordinator Tracey Mofle at 715-790-9177 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network’s 2nd Annual Food Summit Set for March 23rd in Reserve, WI
On Friday, March 23rd, the 2012 Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Summit will create a space for celebrating and connecting local food initiatives led by farmers and other community members, institutions, businesses, and organizations. Anyone with an interest in sharing about their local projects and developing a more just and sustainable food system in the region is encouraged to attend the Summit, which will be held at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College near Hayward, WI.
The theme of the event is “Expanding Community Food Connections,” and internationally recognized keynote speaker, John Peck, of Family Farm Defenders will address the topic of food sovereignty, a solution to most of the food and farm problems facing our world today. His presentation will set the stage for discussions and action planning by farmers and other local community leaders from throughout the region.
The Summit begins at 9am and will include both formal and information presentations on farmer owned and operated co-ops, community gardens and other local food access projects, and student-led outreach projects. Community members will learn more about the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network and have opportunities to engage in an action planning session for developing a food policy working group, and other outreach projects being planned for late summer and fall. A lunch featuring local foods will be served in the Student Center; a lunch donation will help to support a local food access project supported by student interns and other community volunteers.
This is a FREE community event. To pre-register for the Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network’s 2012 Summit, email Amber Marlow at marlowa[at]lco[dot]edu or call 715-634-4790 Ext 156. The Summit is made possible with funding from Heifer USA and support from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College.