Category Archives: Project Announcements

A U.S. Policy Roadmap: The Intersection of Food + Tech.

Moderated by Chloe Sorvino (Forbes) and Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank).

Presented by Food Tank and the ReFresh Working Group

TODAY—REGISTER NOW. Tuesday Feb 2: The Power of Connectivity: Broadband Expansion in Rural Communities

Panelists: Michelle Miller, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; Leanna Mulvihill, Farm Generations Coop; Kim Olson, Retired US air force, Democratic nominee for Texas Agriculture Commissioner; and Ankita Raturi, Purdue University.

Wednesday Feb 3: Protection and Accessibility: Ensuring the Fair Use of Data in the Food System.

Panelists: Kacey Hanson, Dell Medical School; Ali Lange, Google; Matthew Lange, IC-Foods; and Robyn O’Brien, rePlant Capital.

Thursday Feb 4: Reducing Inequities Through a Digitally Skilled Workforce

Panelists: Kevin Krueger, Facebook; Jose Oliva, HEAL Food Alliance; Chris Ramsaroop, Justice for Migrant Workers; Dr. Sekou Siby, ROC United; and Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli, Farmworkers Association of Florida

Friday Feb 5: Strengthening Supply Chains to Build Trust and Improve Food Security

Panelists: Tatiana Garcia Granados, Common Market; Chris Roper, Chris Roper Services; Karen Washington, Rise and Root Farm; Amy Wu, Farms to Incubators, and more to be announced soon!

All panels are recorded. Register for one or all sessions at

COVID19 food supply chain survey

The University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison, as part of a multi-regional study funded by the USDA, has launched a survey to assess and quantify the impacts of the COVID-19 on the farm and food communities in our two-state region. The survey includes questions about production, income, financing, staffing, procurement, distribution and sales. 

The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and results will be aggregated for confidentiality. The survey should be completed by a business owner, manager or professional who has knowledge about company sales, staffing and COVID-19 policies

Individuals completing the survey (one per business) can opt into a drawing for $200 gift certificates to Target or Amazon.

Click here to begin the survey. 

The information you provide will help assess the larger impact of COVID-19 to the agriculture and food production industries in our states and across the nation. The survey results will inform decisions made by policymakers and help establish a roadmap for moving forward.

Disparity to Parity

Until farmers receive a fair price for their products, rural life suffers. That is the thrust of a new project – Disparity to Parity. It is a call to mandate fair pricing and update supply management so that we may create a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.

The featured essays are written by farmers, activists, scholars, organizers, movement leaders, and policy analysts. Essays include: “Parity: An Economic Foundation for an Agroecological System

Over time, additional essays will be added featuring parity’s history, economic analysis, and sector specific strategies for achieving parity. It is hoped that the work will quicken important conversations in policy design to address climate change and the next Farm Bill.

The effort welcomes comments and collaboration. Check it out!

4th Annual Upper Midwest Hazelnut Growers Conference

March 1-2, Eau Claire

Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin hazelnut growers plan to convene this spring to share information on growing, processing and selling hazelnuts. Researchers from Ontario, New Jersey, Minnesota and Wisconsin will share their work on propogating commercial nuts from hybrid and native hazelnut stock, and various ways growers are marketing their crops.

For more information and to register, go to:




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!



Increasing capacity in the tri-state area

Iowa State Extension just hired Brittany Bethel as the new Regional Foods Coordinator for Eastern Iowa and the tri-state area of IA, WI and IL. She writes,

” We have a vibrant community of farmers, consumers, institutions and agencies dedicated to promoting the use of local foods, and many resources for people interested in the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits of using more food produced in our region. I will be promoting promote resources, partners and programs that will support the further growth of our local foods community.

My position is supported by the Limestone Bluffs  RC&D and the Dubuque County ISU Extension.  The deliverables include: Producer Inventory, Local Food Buyer List, Email Distribution (to share events, information, and news), Training Events, Stakeholder Meetings, Business Development Activities and Development of a Regional Food System Expansion Plan.  Other organizations involved include Buy Fresh, Buy Local-River Bend and Dubuque Eats Well RFSWG.”

Sign up for their site – she is posting many local events that may be of interest, especially for those in the Dubuque area.

Welcome Brittany!

Last chance! REGISTER NOW for “Telling the Driftless Story”!


In order to guarantee enough lunch and snacks for all participants, we need to close online registration by the end of the day today, August 6. Please register now to save yourself a spot at this dynamic regional workshop! A draft agenda is posted below and is also available here.

Telling the Driftless Story: August 12-13, 2012

Sunday August 12

5-7 pm: Cocktail Networking with a cash bar

7-8:30pm: Dinner and Welcome talk

This is a free networking event open to all registered participants in Monday’s workshop. Please email if you would like to RSVP. Space is limited.

Monday August 13

7:30-8:30: Breakfast  

8:30-8:45: Introduction

8:45-10:00 Share Your Driftless Story

Work in small groups to share your memories and favorite things about the Driftless region while learning more about your neighbors and their motivations for participating in this workshop. Themes will be developed from the results.

10:00-10:15 BREAK

10:15-11:15 What the Italian Story Tells Us

A look at the agriturismo industry in Italy, its history and traditions, economics and regulation, its connections to place including regional uniqueness and the importance of land, agriculture and topography. Agricultural tourism has grown deep roots in Italy, and there are clear implications for Wisconsin. This session will highlight the Italian model and how it might inform the Driftless Story.

11:15- 12:00 LUNCH at Old Oak Inn

12:00-2:45 TOURS of local food and agriculture businesses

Tour 1- Organics in Action: Diversified Produce, Value-added Sunflower Oil and Grass-fed Beef and Lamb in the Heart of the Driftless (TENTATIVE)

  • 12:20-1:20pm Driftless Organics
  • 1:30-2:30pm Pine Knob Farm

Tour 2: Cheese & Apples! An award-winning Cooperative Creamery and Family-owned Apple Orchard and Farm Market (CONFIRMED)

  • 12:20-1:20pm Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery
  • 1:30-2:30pm Sunrise Orchards, Inc.

Tour 3: Culinary Innovation: The Driftless’ Newest Community Kitchen & Aquaponic Fish and Produce Farm

  • 12:10-1:00pm Kickapoo Culinary Center (CONFIRMED)
  • 1:20-2:15pm Roth Fresh Farms (TENTATIVE)

2:45-3:15 Connect with theme groups and have groups collaborate to come up with one minute’s story, one image, one sentence (etc.) to summarize their group’s stories/experiences on the tours. Groups report back and present to entire group.

*Full group stories, themes and drawing can be reported on the Driftless blog after the conference in order to allow more time for group work.

3:15-4:15 Next Steps for Creating a New Future for the Driftless

Small group work and facilitated larger group discussion about possible next steps to take in the Driftless Region.

4:15-4:30 Concluding remarks

Registration for the August 13 “Telling the Driftless Story” Regional Workshop is OPEN!

Register here!

Driftless Food and Farm Project’s Regional Workshop, “Telling Our Story”

Monday, August 13, 2012
8:30 am-4:30 pm

The Old Oak Inn
550 Church St
Soldiers Grove, WI 54655

$10 registration fee

Join us for a day of exploring and developing themes and storylines on food and farming in the Driftless Region. This meeting is a precursor to work branding the region. Professional communicators, artists, farmers, chefs, and others involved in the life of the region will have an opportunity to tour local businesses, hear stories of the region, and consider strategies that leverage desired change.

The first 50 registrants will receive a copy of Amy Trubek’s The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir or Lapham’s Quarterly issue on food.

Please fill out the form here to secure your registration for the conference. The registration fee of $10 is payable by check to the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Receipts can be provided upon request. Please mail your check to:

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
Attn: Driftless Project Workshop
1535 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706

For more information and registration, click here.