Category Archives: Technical Assistance/Funding

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



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

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 from 6:00-7:30pm, Central
Location: Online
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 18th at 6pm (Central) 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
For individuals that cannot attend the December 18th event, the webinar is also being offered on December 10th at 6:00pm Central. Please email to sign up for December 10th.
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.

Rachel Armstrong
Executive Director- Farm Commons, Inc.
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A Feasibility Template for Small, Multi-Species Meat Processing Plants

The Journal Of Extension has just published an article entitled A Feasibility Template for Small, Multi-Species Meat Processing Plants. The Kerr Center at Oklahoma State created a template to allow entrepreneurs to play out “what if” scenarios in developing a meat processing business for value-added meat products. The template allows users to define plant size and capacity, including the breakdown of processing activities by species and additional revenue opportunities.

“The spreadsheet template is designed to assist livestock producers and food business entrepreneurs who may be interested in owning or operating a meat processing plant. Most do not understand the factors that impact plant operations and ownership, nor do they have the skills or experience to make sound financial decisions for a plant. Plant owners must consider the impacts of balancing a variety of potential business activities under one roof: custom packing for multiple species (cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, bison, etc.), handling wild game (e.g., deer, elk and wild hogs), and possibly operating a retail shop.”

The article also suggests further reading on meat processing for entrepreneurs.

Report “Bridging the Gap: Funding and Social Equity Across the Food System Supply Chain”

Brightseed posts some interesting articles on food systems. Most recently, they posted a short summary on capital investment in the food supply chain, a report from the Rockefeller Foundation. The full report is also available.

In looking over the site, I found much helpful material geared toward financing. For instance:

The Community Development Financial Institution’s “Financing Healthy Food Options” Resource Bank is now available online. This is a great resource for any CDFIs, other lenders, and investors interested in developing new or expanding existing healthy food finance initiatives.

The Resource Bank includes the “required reading” for all CDFIs interested in financing healthy food enterprises in their target communities. Training curriculum chapters include:

I found Brightseed through LinkedIn, through the Sustainable Foods Network. If you use this site, consider joining the group and connecting with Nessa @ Brightseed.


Local Food Training for Institutions

Register Now!

Local Food Training for Institutions:

Greg Christian Takes On Your Menu and Budget

Thursday December 6, 2012, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Dane County UW-Extension Building,  5201 Fen Oak Dr, Madison, WI


Don’t miss this! IFM and Greg Christian are teaming up to bring you this hands-on training. Greg is known nationally for his efforts to help food service operations use more sustainable practices and source local food. At this training, Greg will work with participating food service directors and chefs to help them learn how to incorporate more seasonal local food into their menus and budgets. Attendees are encouraged to bring purchase orders, receipts, menus, and recipes from November and December 2011 so Greg can help problem solve on the spot. Greg will also prepare several seasonal dishes appropriate for an institutional kitchen.

Registration: An agenda with a registration form is attached. You can also find these on the IFM website. Mail in your registration form with a check (or request an invoice) by November 19. Prices are $50 for non IFM Members, $35 for IFM members, and $25 for culinary students.

More About Greg Christian: Greg is the founder and CEO of Beyond Green. He is a chef, author, and consultant to food service operations with a focus on sustainability. He designed the sustainability strategy for the Field Museum’s food service. Most recently, he has been working with Bureau Valley School District 340 and Niles Township High School District 219 generating healthy food-sustainability strategies for their food service operations.

More About IFM: The Institutional Food Market Coalition (IFM) is a Dane County UW-Extension program that works to increase the sales of local Wisconsin food to institutions. We connect buyers with local food suppliers and offer educational opportunities to help them overcome obstacles to local sourcing. Read more on the IFM website.

Please share this invitation widely, and contact me with any questions. Hope you can make it!


Laura Witzling
IFM Coordinator
Dane County UW-Extension
5201 Fen Oak Dr, Room 138
Madison, WI 53718
Phone: (608) 224-3710

An EEO/AA employer, UW Extension provides equal opportunities and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.


Survey for beef producers interested in grass finishing

What are your greatest challenges to increasing beef production on grass? Tell us.
Gene Schriefer (Iowa County UWEX) is working with Rhonda Gildersleeve, (the Wisconsin state grazing specialist) to develop a grass finished beef curriculum.  They plan to pilot it this winter in Dodgeville for the Driftless Area, and request your feedback.
Please share this survey link with others you know who raise beef.