POLK COUNTY -- It would be surprising to learn that more net income comes into Polk and Burnett Counties through SNAP (food stamps) than through farming. Residents of the two counties spend over $192 million each year buying food, but well over 90% of the food we eat is imported from other places. With the average farmer getting $.14 out of every dollar spent on food, it is a game changer for direct sales farmers to set their own price and get 100% of the profits.
The St Croix Valley Food Alliance (SCVFA) is a new initiative of the Polk-Burnett Chapter of the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) focused on building community through local food. Their mission is to strengthen and promote a thriving, resilient, and equitable local food economy in the St Croix River Valley. The initiative was built by a steering committee of farmers and food workers passionate about issues around supporting farmers, food security, climate change and a healthy watershed.
In May of 2022, with WFU as their fiscal sponsor, they submitted a grant to the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program. A requirement of the grant was to raise 25% of the amount in matching funds from community partners. Through grassroots efforts, SCVFA was successful in meeting the grant requirements. If awarded the other 75% from the USDA in September, they will be able to hire a staff person, over three years, to coordinate the mechanisms that will set in motion more opportunities for a local food economy to expand.
Learn more about this exciting initiative and how you can be involved. The official launch party will take place on Wednesday August 10, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Community Homestead Farm, 501 280th St Osceola, WI. Everyone, farmers and eaters alike, are invited to celebrate family farms feeding their communities.
Activities will include free farm fresh food, a guided honey tasting, a film debut introducing some of the participating farmers, speakers, a farmer round table, and kid’s activities including a live puppet show! Deb Ryun, Executive Director of Wild River Conservancy, will be sharing about how this work is important to keeping watersheds healthy.
National Farmers Market Week,(which started in 1999) is August 7-13 this year. It celebrates the more than 8,700 nationwide farmers markets. These markets provide fresh, healthy food; preserve local, family farms; stimulate rural, economic development; and provide long term food security. Come meet your visionary farmers of the future! A splendid time is guaranteed for all!