Category Archives: Technical Assistance/Funding

Open Source Food Safety

Announcing new open source hub for food safety information

processed cold products

Photo: R. Stone

Open Source Food Safety has launched a new initiative and website for the benefit of regional food systems. Food safety is important to everyone, but the information food-related businesses need to make safe products isn’t always affordable or easy to access. The Open Source Food Safety Initiative is setting out to change that.

A collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Humanities, Underground Food Collective, Sarapis Foundation, and open source software developers, the Open Source Food Safety Initiative aims to make information about food safety free, publicly available, and easy to understand. This project emerged out of a Kickstarter-funded campaign in 2014 that has raised $49,000 to date, and received national press on NPR’s Salt, Eater, and The New Food Economy for its innovative approach to helping food businesses navigate the complex world of food safety regulation.

Normally, this information is copyright-protected and food businesses have to pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to access it. To date, Open Source Food Safety Initiative collaborators have assisted over 20 restaurants and plants with their HACCP plans, thereby bringing the cost of starting a business down and generating for them an estimated quarter million dollars of value.

Now, the initiative’s new website is taking its approach to collaboration around food safety information to the next level. This new hub,, hosts Creative Commons-licensed Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans and invites people to share their own plans, commenting on existing plans and adapt plans for their own businesses. The free, familiar, and easy to use online tools makes all this (and more) possible.

“We think this is an incredibly innovative way to help small processors tackle food safety issues,” said Jonny Hunter, project founder and Underground Food Collective co-owner. “We hope processors will not only use this information, but contribute back – strengthening the overall safety of our food system.”

“This project is a delicious example of how widely used free software tools like Google Docs and open source collaboration techniques can be used to improve our food system,” said Devin Balkind, founder of Sarapis Foundation. “This effort not only lowers the cost of starting businesses while increasing the availability of awesome food. It also invites people to imagine other ways food producers can use collaborative technologies to work together and transform their industry.”

Sharing HACCP plans is just the beginning. The Open Source Food Safety Initiative aims to provide food businesses with multi-media guides to navigating food safety regulation, including step-by-step videos that document the process of validating and verifying HACCP plans, interviews with food scientists, and blog posts tackling common food safety issues faced by processors. Their website also hosts a forum for discussion around food safety issues.

Those interested in starting or building a food business, strengthening knowledge infrastructure for regional food systems, or simply invested in the safety of our food system can visit to use and modify food safety plans featured on the site, and can share their own food safety plans with others as open source documents by emailing

For project updates, subscribe to the Open Source Safety Initiative’s blog, join their Google Group, or check out their Facebook page

Workshop on the Driftless Karst Landscape August 25

Gene Schriefer and Paul Ohlrogge invite you to learn more about karst and conservation. They write:

Algae blooms in Florida and Lake Erie, Des Moines suing three northwestern Iowa counties for nitrate contamination, brown water advisories in Kewaunee County, whether the finger is pointed at urban runoff, failing septic systems or agriculture, water quality issues are making front page news.
Southwest Wisconsin has an abundant water resource. In Iowa County, this resource has been mapped. With information we can make informed decisions about how to utilize this resource wisely while ensuring that this supply of safe, clean water remains available use and enjoyment for future generations. While the data was collected in Iowa County, we share many similar karst features with our neighboring counties in the Driftless Region.

We have invited several experts to explain what we know and answer question about land use that positively and negatively impacts our water.

We’d like to invite you to attend a workshop on “Conservation in Karst Landscapes” on August 25, in Dodgeville. The main objectives for this program are:

  • Gain a basic understanding of the bedrock geology of Southwestern Wisconsin, how the geology increases the risk of groundwater contamination; gain a basic understanding of how highly permeable soils (sands) are a risk factor for groundwater contamination
  • Understand the tools local counties are using to determine depth to bedrock and map higher risk areas, and examine the strategies they have used to protect the groundwater resource.
  • Explain how to use field observations and mapping tools to locate karst features and be able to identity common karst features in the field.


UW-Extension Conservation in Karst Landscapes

9:30: Welcome and Overview of the day

9:35: Understanding Karst and Karst Issues in Southwest Wisconsin
Understanding water movement in Sandy Aquifers—Madeline Gotkowitz,
Geologist, WGNHS

10:25: The groundwater resources of Iowa County—Paul Ohlrogge, UWEX CRD

11:05 Depth to Bedrock Mapping Techniques & Sinkholes in SW WI- Dave

12:05: Working Lunch: Mapping shallow bedrock: what we’ve learned -Eric
Cooley, UW Discovery Farms
Recommendations from the Northeast Wisconsin Karst Task Force Report
Kevin Erb, UW Extension

1 pm: Local experiences with Soil Health: What farmers can do to increase
infiltration and reduce nutrient losses— Gene Schriefer, UWEX Ag

1:45 Break

1:55 Optional Field Tour: Identifying Karst Features in the Field/Quarry trip

Iowa County HHS
303 W. Chapel Street
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Phone: (608)930-9850

9:00 a.m. August 25
Iowa County Health & Human Service Building,
303 W. Chapel Street, Dodgeville, WI

Registration—$20—checks payable to UWEX (due August 19)

Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable

Join us in Madison on August 4th
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As the business world grows increasingly more complex, an effective board is critical to cooperative’s success. How do board leaders balance responding to changing conditions while remaining focused on the long-term goals and needs of the cooperative? How might your board improve performance to better meet the needs of its members?Join other cooperative board leaders on August 4th in Madison, WI, to share challenges and solutions that your cooperative board is facing. The Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable is a flexible and interactive forum that will focus on the following topics:

  • Role of the board chair and other leadership positions
  • Facilitating effective meetings
  • Strategies for good decision making processes and developing a more efficient board
  • CEO review and succession planning
  • Best practices in board leadership.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to network with your cooperative board peers!

Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable
Fluno Center, Madison, WI
August 4, 2015
Register Now
Logistics and other Information
9:00AM – Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30AM – Roundtable begins
2:00PM – Roundtable adjournsContact Information:
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director
UW Center for Cooperatives
(608) 263-4775
Registration and Cost: $100 per participant includes light breakfast, lunch and onsite parking at the Fluno CenterRegister two or more individuals from the same cooperative and receive a 10% discount!There is a limited number of financial hardship registrations available. If you need assistance, please contact us.
Thank you to Cooperative Network for cosponsoring this event!
This program is presented by:
The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and UW Extension
Copyright © 2015 University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, All rights reserved.unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Grant writing workshops in March

The UW-Extension Community Food Systems Team (Carrie Edgar, Erin Peot, & Andrew Bernhardt) is partnering with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and will be leading three Grant Writing Workshops for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Foods Promotion Program (LFPP) at three locations around the state –

  • March 3:   Eau Claire County UW-Extension, 227 1st Street West, Altoona, WI 54720
  • March 4:   Brown County UW-Extension, 1150 Bellevue Street, Green Bay, WI 54302
  • March 6:   Dane County UW-Extension, 5201 Fen Oak Dr. Madison, WI 53718

Each workshop will run from 10am – 3pm and all workshops are free (including free lunch) but you must register.

Register at:

Please register at least a week prior to the event so that we can get accurate counts for lunch.

This is a great opportunity to refine your own project idea and learn about these great grant programs!

Learn more about this event at:

Strengthen your values-based supply chain connections

Remember the talk about a trade association for regional food? the Local Food Association, based in Lexington, KY,  is organizing just such a service! The director bio is awesome and they have a great board of directors. They are hosting a first conference November 6th for supply chain businesses, including farmers / shippers, to meet and do business.

Menus of Change

(Could someone organize something like this for our region?)

June 10-12, Cambridge MA

Here for more information.

This leadership summit, presented by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health, will help you NAVIGATE an increasingly complicated world of shifting consumer values and demands, public health imperatives, escalating food costs, and looming environmental challenges. Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willet (left) is chairman of the Menus of Change Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, a group that together with the CIA and our Sustainable Business Leadership Council is working to create an integrated platform of strategies and tools to help you build forward-looking—and delicious!—menu concepts for the future.
Confirmed speakers to date include Sam Kass, senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives at the White House; Barton Seaver, CIA graduate, author of For Cod and Country, and director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment; Andrea Illy, CEO of illycaffè, and director of his company’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability value report; and Rick Bayless (left), chef, author, television host, and sustainability advocate.

Open-source Biomimicry curriculum

Cobb Hill, VT

Offering an open-source curriculum by Sustainability Leaders Network designed to strengthen and inform the biomimicry movement among educators and learners locally and around the world.

The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone. – Janine Benyus, leading biomimicry scholar

About this curriculum
This course offers an introduction to biomimicry and how to learn from nature. With an emphasis on getting outside and exploring the land around you, the biomimicry curriculum that we have designed, tested, and refined focuses on observing, appreciating and learning from nature and natural systems in your locality. Cognizant of the ways in which consumption and population growth have degraded our environment, we focus on positive solutions learned from nature and ways to take meaningful action.

I know all of the statistics of destruction, but I have chosen to come to this out of love, because I love this place. And I want to stay here. I want to stay home. – Janine Benyus

Course goals
Through this course, teachers and learners alike will:

  1. Become knowledgeable and enthusiastic about biomimicry.
  2. Get outside and strengthen relationships with the local environment.
  3. Learn to better recognize, observe, and think creatively about processes and systems in nature.
  4. Shift to see nature not as something to exploit, but as a teacher and model.
  5. Collaborate with nature to devise and apply practical solutions to current challenges.

Colleagues Edie Farwell and Dominic Stucker designed the original curriculum, Edie taught the course at The Sharon Academy in autumn 2012, and Dominic Stucker and Alex Bauermeister further developed the course for publication.

Business Investors Showcase

Slow Money Wisconsin and LION to host 2013 Business and Investors Showcase

Slow Money Wisconsin and LION  (Local Investment Opportunities Network) will host the 2013 Business and Investor Showcase featuring local food and fiber businesses on Friday, April 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Road in Madison.

Hosted by Tera Johnson, founder of tera’s whey, Jim Gage, president of Town and Country Resource Conservation and Development, and Rebecca Ryan, director of Next Generation Consulting, the event is designed to spark conversations and connections among sustainable food and farming entrepreneurs, investors, intermediaries, food activists and members of the public who are interested in supporting the local food system.

The 2013 Showcase includes 10-minute presentations from a juried selection of nine local, sustainable food and fiber businesses, including:

•                Judy Tholen, JRS Country Acres, delivering 100% Wisconsin produced cage free vegetarian fed brown eggs to grocery stores, restaurants and institutions within 200 mile of Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

•                Adrian Reif, Ōm Boys Food Movement (OBFM), manufacturing and selling a line of fresh, home-style nut butters and a line of uniquely nutrient-dense, raw, sprouted, and gluten free cereal-granolas.

•                Bill Anderson, Crème de la Coulée, offering French “esoteric” soft-ripened artisan cheeses made with raw milk from Wisconsin organic dairies.

•                Rufus Haucke, Just Local Foods, an aggregating, processing, marketing and distribution hub located in the Food Enterprise Center in Viroqua, WI, sourcing from over 100 family run farms located throughout the state of Wisconsin. 
Walter Harvey, Taste of Soul  Foods Innovation Kitchen, a start-up food processing operation that will manufacture a line of small batch preserves, condiments and dry rubs, and will manufacture products for food entrepreneurs looking to outsource preparation, packaging and labeling of private recipes.

•                Jacy Eckerman and Heidi Speight, Yum Tum, LLC, offering freshly frozen baby food produced from local organic produce.

•                Gilbert Williams, Lonesome Stone Milling, a local flour mill and a seed cleaning operation, offering wholesale local stone-ground flour to bakeries as well as product mixes for home use.

•                Ellen Barnard, Food Enterprise and Economic Development Kitchen (FEED), a food business incubator and community kitchen facility that will feature 5 commercial kitchens, and food-service training programs for unemployed youth and adults.

•                Bartlett Durand, Black Earth Meats, processor and distributor of sustainably raised meats (beef, pork, lamb, goat) One of the only USDA inspected, certified organic, certified humane processing facilities in the country offering

Ten minute presentations will be followed by Q&A with the entrepreneur and individual and small group interaction time is built into the day.

Brian Bengry, of Conscious Capital, will also present the case for building an investment portfolio that includes local investment.

If you are a local food activist, an impact investor, a sustainable business entrepreneur, a program officer, or an individual interested in line-of-sight investments, the Showcase is an opportunity to participate in what called “one of the top five trends in finance” and Rodale called “one of the top ten trends in organics.” Tickets to the Showcase include a locally sourced breakfast and lunch, and are $30 for general public and $15 for students at or call (888) 406-7969.

Join Showcase presenters, nurture capitalists, investment advisors and university students for pre-event networking reception on Thursday, April 25 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Brocach Irish Pub, Capitol Square, Madison. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students.

Sponsored by: Slow Money Wisconsin, LION, Town and Country RC&D, Incredible Edibles Investment Club, Kailo Fund, and Sustainable, Edible, Economic Development (S.E.E.D.), with the support of the Wisconsin School of Business.


Slow Money Wisconsin supports efforts toward creating a resilient, sustainable economy by increasing our investments in small-scale, sustainable food and farming enterprises in the region.


LION (Local Investment Opportunities Network) connects local investors in the Madison, Wisconsin area with local business owners who need capital. For businesses, LION is an alternative to banks or other commercial lenders. For investors, LION is a way to see where your money is going, and who it is helping. It enables you to invest in what you know and can see, in the local businesses that make Madison and Dane County the unique place it is.

National Good Food Network Webinar on Local Meats Processing: Successes and Innovations

Thursday, April 18
3:30 – 5:00pm ET
(12:30 – 2:00pm Pacific)

Free! Register Now

Local meat and poultry can’t get to market without a processor, but processors are pulled in many directions: Farmers would like more processing options, the kind of processing needed depends on the market the regulations are complex regulations, and even with premium-priced meats, the profit margins are slim.
So how can local meat processing survive … and even thrive? Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders and co-coordinators of the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, will share the results of their research on this topic, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country.
We’ll also hear from several regional support efforts to improve access to local processing: Kathleen Harris, of the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company; Casey McKissick, of NC Choices and the Carolina Meat Conference; and Chelsea Bardot Lewis, of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Vermont Meat Processing Task Force.
The full research report will be released the day of the webinar – be among the first to ask your questions of the investigators!



Lauren Gwin

Oregon State University, NMPAN


Chelsea Bardot Lewis

Vermont Agency of Agriculture


Arion Thiboumery 

Lorentz Meats, NMPAN


Casey McKissick

NC Choices, Carolina Meat Institute


Kathleen Harris

Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company