I posted a question on regional food systems to LinkedIn, and a respondent suggested I take a look at what they are doing in Puget Sound. What do you think? Would a Driftless Region food policy council make sense?
Another respondent shared what they are doing in Ontario. There is a nonprofit who organized its members to attend food shows in major markets. The equivalent would be to purchase some floor exhibition space at the Fancy Food Show in Chicago for Driftless purveyors. Ditto Twin Cities, Milwaukee, etc.. What do you think of that?
Mark your calendar for a Workshop on transportation costs, the evening of May 2, 2012 in Dubuque. This event is targeted to farmers who want to assess what their transportation costs are and consider alternate ways to get their products to market. The event is free, but we need an RSVP to ensure adequate refreshments. Please spread the word throughout the region.
Land Stewardship Project and Iowa Extension is offering the workshop, in conjunction with the UW-Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the National Center on Freight Infrastructure, Research and Education.
Are you growing hazelnuts in the Drifltess? Are you thinking about it? CIAS is working with the University of Minnesota, UW-Extension, Rural Advantage, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior and the UW-Horticulture department on a hazelnut project. Hazelnuts are native to our region and have the potential to hold soil in place, withstand drought, and provide a high-quality food source. The project has three primary components: select native bushes that show potential for good nut bearing and evaluate the native/european crosses that are already growing on farms in the three states; work on developing processing equipment that is appropriate scale for small to mid-size operations; and help farmers organize their processing and marketing efforts to make the most of rural economic opportunities. Check out the Midwest Hazelnut Initiative web site if you want to learn more. http://www.midwesthazelnuts.org/
Attached are two documents. The first Hazelnut Wiki gives an overview of hazelnuts. The second is a GIS analysis of hazelnut production in Wisconsin, with some suggestions for where to place a processing facility. Hazelnut_PDF_GIS_Analysis
Charlene Elderkind at the Viroqua Food Co-op tells the story of her community’s efforts in “The Good Food Revolution” . Charlene has participated in both Driftless conferences to date.
We suggest a full perusal of the co-op’s website which features a blog that gives some insight into the development of co-op and other Driftless-related posts.