Category Archives: Marketing & Communication – The Driftless Identity

Networking Across the Supply Chain – LaCrosse 2/20-21/2013

100 regional food supply chain entrepreneurs are gathering in LaCrosse this week to shape a public R&D agenda for getting local food to market in a way that is economically viable, socially just and environmentally sound.

Visit this link to see the agenda, speaker bios and a list of organizations attending.

Can’t join us? A proceedings will be published later this year.


4th Annual Upper Midwest Hazelnut Growers Conference

March 1-2, Eau Claire

Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin hazelnut growers plan to convene this spring to share information on growing, processing and selling hazelnuts. Researchers from Ontario, New Jersey, Minnesota and Wisconsin will share their work on propogating commercial nuts from hybrid and native hazelnut stock, and various ways growers are marketing their crops.

For more information and to register, go to:




Chicago’s Red Meat Market

Red Meat Market is working in Chicago to drive consumer events,community, commerce and consolidation of the local meat system here in the midwest. They just launched, “Empower the local meat system” with a national campaign at Daley Plaza called Eat it! Tweet it! Two hastags to drive the movement: “#GoodMeat #ChooseLocal”. Blog post:

Many providers, chefs, butchers are on board as well as government leaders. They’ve come along way in 5 months since launch.

Eating Green: Coverage of the Locavore Movement

In Eating Green: Coverage of the Locavore Movement,  Extension researcher from Charleston, South Carolina reviewed media coverage regarding the role of farmers markets in local food consumption. Through a framing analysis of newspapers from eight different U.S. cities, the study revealed that four frames describe the coverage on the farmers markets and the buying local trend. These four frames are product awareness, economic support, quality counts, and price negotiation.

Dubuque hosts sustainable communities conference

Hosted by the City of Dubuque and Sustainable City Network, the 5th annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference – Midwestern Region  was a one-day educational opportunity for municipal professionals, elected officials and business leaders who have a common interest in sustainability. The general conference held on Oct. 3, 2012 was preceded by several optional half-day workshops, mobile tours and a networking reception on Oct. 2.

Workshops covered four main tracks. I was surprised that food and agriculture was not included. Maybe next year we can add such a track! (Do any of you readers have a contact at Sustainable Cities?)

  • Energy & Resource Management – This track focuses on sustainable building practices, energy conservation and waste management.
  • Water – This track looks at the vital natural resource from rain to drain, from waterway to kitchen faucet and from wastewater to energy source.
  • Transportation and Mobility – This track features the latest trends in infrastructure, alternative fuels and reducing vehicle miles traveled.
  • Community Knowledge – This track looks at several examples of citizen and stakeholder engagement, education and team building.

Building the Base of Your CSA: Legal Best Practices, Including Member, Volunteer, and Intern Agreements

Webinar: Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 6pm

Do you have a CSA program or are you planning to start one? Would you like guidance on how legal documents can help you achieve your CSA goals?

Farmers are invited to attend a webinar December 10th at 6pm to learn about the legal aspects of running a CSA and gain strategies for crafting a CSA member agreement to improve customer satisfaction and retention. This webinar will also discuss how to create meaningful volunteer opportunities with worker share or volunteer agreements, while also identifying potential legal risks. We will discuss setting up a CSA business, hiring interns and apprentices, and overall risk management strategies to build a CSA that can thrive.

CSA farmers, educators, and advocates are invited to attend. The legal principles discussed will be relevant to CSA farmers nationwide, although Wisconsin and Illinois examples will be emphasized for state-specific discussions.

Please register for this webinar at

After registering you will receive more information about how to log into the webinar. We are excited to use the University of Illinois’ user-friendly and interactive webinar presentation resources. It will be accessible for those on dial-up. Phone support will be available if you have any trouble accessing the presentation.

This webinar is presented by Professor A. Bryan Endres at the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons and the University of Illinois. It is hosted by the University of Illinois, Online and Continuing Education and funding is provided in part by the North Central Risk Management Education Center.

Bikes good for the economy

When there was talk that Chicago was bidding to host the Summer Olympics, the word on the street was that bike races would happen in the Driftless. I know there are a number of bike-related events in the region and wonder if any organization is in place to organize and promote bike tourism? One of the best things about biking is that it burns lots of calories and so I can eat! So I see a natural affinity between local food and biking in the Driftless.

See the fastcompany article below that includes information on the economic benefits to biking around the country, and including Wisconsin and Iowa.

1.3 million servings of WI veggies, please

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is in Madison today to award our project a grant!

CIAS is working with farmers, processors, and distributors  to go from zero Wisconsin veggies in Wisconsin public schools to 1.3 million servings in 2014.That amounts to targeting 60% of Wisconsin school districts with two new food service-friendly products.

Andy Dierks, Coloma Farms, Teresa Engel at DATCP, Anna Maenner at the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, Mary Pesik with DHS, June Paul with DPI, Cheryl Piel with the School Nutrition Association, and Mike Bell (CESoc) and Alfonso Morales (URPL) at the UW,  supported the project proposal.

The project encourages two new products to the school lunch menu: Harvest Medley – a mix of root vegetables, squash and herbs – and a roasted potato blend. Both products have been successful in St. Paul and Milwaukee school lunch program trials.

Fifth Season coop in Viroqua will be working with Reinhart to get the new products to market. Maglio’s in Glendale is working with SYSCO.

Not too shabby.

Congratulations and thank you to Sarah Tedeschi and project partners for making this happen!



Culinary travelers

Culinary travelers make up roughly one-fifth of the U.S. leisure traveling population, according to the 2006 food and wine travelers study conducted by the US Travel Association. And, on average, they spend one-third of their travel budget on food-related activities.


The World Food Traveler Association is about to launch a follow-up study. If you are interested in sponsoring or knowing more, contact Laura Mandala at 703.820.1041 and

Appalachian Food Systems Work

Appalachia is similar to the Driftless in many ways – multi-state, geography, transportation, communications, even culture. So is it any surprise they are actively developing their regional food economy, too? Check out this conference web site to see what people are talking about, who is organizing good works, and how they are funding the work.