County Tries to Connect Farmers with Local Buyers

February 14, 2013
Carrie Springer, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Farmers and Chefs Wanted for “Local Produce for Foodservice” Meeting


A networking meeting to help area fruit and vegetable farmers connect with foodservice buyers and chefs is set for March 5, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


“This meeting provides a unique opportunity for farmers, chefs and distributors to meet and discuss doing business together. It’s a great way to keep the farm-to-table efforts going in Dane County and support our local economy,” said Parisi.


The meeting will feature facilitated and open networking time, a group discussion, and a panel of local produce leaders. Panelists are Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Southern Wisconsin Food Hub; Diane Chapeta, Fifth Season Cooperative; and Jennifer Borchardt, Harvest Moons Farms and Family Farmed.


Connecting farmers and buyers is the latest step taken by Parisi to support local businesses. Last year, Dane County became the first unit of government to join Dane Buy Local, one of the most successful buy local initiatives in the country.  A study commissioned by Dane Buy Local found $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business remains in the local economy, versus $43 from a similar purchase at other businesses.


The meeting, “Local Produce for Foodservice,” will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at the Alliant Energy Center Exposition Hall in Madison from 9am to 2pm. Participants must register in advance. A registration form is available online or by calling (608) 224-3710.


The meeting is funded by a “Specialty Crop Block Grant” through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) that was received by a Dane County UW-Extension Program called the Institutional Food Market Coalition  (IFM).


Dane County’s IFM is an economic development program established to create new market opportunities in Dane County for regional farms and local food businesses by increasing the sales of local Wisconsin food to large volume buyers of food. Since 2006, Dane County’s IFM has generated over $4.3 million in local food sales, and continues a long history of Dane County’s leadership in promoting agriculture.


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