Category Archives: Processing

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.


Making F2S work

Some of you may know Josh Miner, former F2S coordinator for the LaCrosse school district. Josh has done some great work looking at the economics of some of the efforts to get high-quality food into medium-sized school districts. As we know, it must be economically viable to be sustainable. Josh shared his thoughts on the economics of F2S with me recently. Making Farm-to-School work in Wisconsin (for real)

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!



Want to sell wholesale?

Looking for a buyer? The Local Food Expo has a couple of display areas for you at its meeting next Tuesday, September 18. Hosted by the Institutional Food Marketing Coalition, this event brings buyers and sellers together to swap business cards and learn about their mutual interests and concerns around wholesaling food grown in our region. They are especially interested in meat and cheese vendors. To register for the meeting. reserve a display table or learn more, go to Register now!

Growing hazelnuts in the Driftless

Are you growing hazelnuts in the Drifltess? Are you thinking about it? CIAS is working with the University of Minnesota, UW-Extension, Rural Advantage, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior and the UW-Horticulture department on a hazelnut project. Hazelnuts are native to our region and have the potential to hold soil in place, withstand drought, and provide a high-quality food source. The project has three primary components: select native bushes that show potential for good nut bearing and evaluate the native/european crosses that are already growing on farms in the three states; work on developing processing equipment that is appropriate scale for small to mid-size operations; and help farmers organize their processing and marketing efforts to make the most of rural economic opportunities. Check out the Midwest Hazelnut Initiative web site if you want to learn more.

Attached are two documents. The first Hazelnut Wiki gives an overview of hazelnuts. The second is a GIS analysis of hazelnut production in Wisconsin, with some suggestions for where to place a processing facility.    Hazelnut_PDF_GIS_Analysis 


The Good Food Revolution in SW WI

Charlene Elderkind at the Viroqua Food Co-op tells the story of her community’s efforts in “The Good Food Revolution” .  Charlene has participated in both Driftless conferences to date.

We suggest a full perusal of the co-op’s website which features a blog that gives some insight into the development of co-op and other Driftless-related posts.

Next Steps for Processing Breakout Group


Participants discussed a number of reasons why processing, especially for vegetables, is in the forefront of the region’s food movement. There is a regional history of collaboration between cities and counties, a history of raising cash crops, land available for increasing production, and a documented demand for processed vegetables. There is a strong interest in community-based processing (such as through a co-operative business structure) and many collaborators and resources to make it happen. Furthering development of a robust processing sector in the region will give small-mid-size farmers more market options, build the local economy, and further sustainability goals.

Next steps:

  • Who is working on this issue in the region?
  • How do we best address food safety concerns?
  • Where do we find business development support? Where do we learn the ins-and-outs of facilty design, mechanical systems, sanitation, regulations, etc.

We would like to encourage your participation in continuing conversations. Please step forward by posting a comment below or by emailing us.  If you have suggestions on how we can proceed please don’t hesitate to share them.