Update: Fruit and Nuts

Interested in craft hard cider? Our final project report was released in December 2019, with lab and tasting results, and apple profiles. Comparing Apples to Apples: Single-varietal hard apple cider testing is available on-line. We distribute hard copies at conferences around Wisconsin, or can mail you one, if you are interested. We are supporting a farmer-crafter network to support more Wisconsin craft cider. Want to join us? We are meeting monthly via conference call and want to hear from you.

Funding to accelerate work on hazelnuts for the Upper Midwest is in place, thanks to the leadership of Jason Fischbach and Lois Braun. We are forming farmer networks and will be field testing native and hybrid shrubs to identify commercial cultivars. If you are interested in participating in a network to learn more about cultivation, let us know.

The Fruit and Nut Compass will soon be released. This tool will help farmers interested in planting these perennial food crops to understand the economics of choices available to them. The tool will go live on http://www.veggiecompass.com/, before planting season.

Compass Tools are free downloadable spreadsheets created at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin-Madison. These tools help farmers actively manage for increased farm profits by helping them understand their cost of production, by product and by market channel. This enables farmers to make strategic decisions to adjust prices, reduce costs, shift market channel focus, reduce or drop unprofitable products, and expand production of their most profitable ventures.

The Compass Toolbox is an ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that responds to the need for tools to address farm financial viability. It involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and training workshops. Our tools are designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.

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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-us-policy-roadmap-the-intersection-of-food-and-technology-tickets-137922635315.

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!

Webinar on COVID19 and regional food systems

WHAT: The first webinar of the Lessons from COVID-19: Positioning Regional Food Supply Chains for Future Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Human-made Crises project that will include a brief introduction of team members, a holistic project overview, survey tools used and example questions from the first survey, preliminary data from an environmental scan of available resources and insights from prior assessments of the impacts of COVID-19 on the Florida food system. 

WHERE: Register, for free, at https://tinyurl.com/lessonsfromcovid-webinar

WHEN: January 28 1 p.m. CST (11 a.m. PST, 12 p.m. MST, 2 p.m. EST)

FOR WHO: Those engaged in the food supply chain at any level

MORE INFO: www.ruralengagement.org/lessons-from-covid-19

UW-CIAS is partnering with researchers at University of Minnesota, University of Florida, UC-Irvine and Kansas State to document lessons from COVID-19 so that we may better position regional food production to respond to future crises. To share what we are learning in real time, we are offering four free webinars over the course of the next year. Please join us for the first webinar, January 28.

This is a great way to learn more about the supply chain survey we’ve developed, too.

This work is supported by USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Organic Strawberry Production

UW-Madison fruit horticulturist Amaya Atucha is working with colleagues at the University of Minnesota to determine interest in adopting/integrating day-neutral strawberries into pre-existing production systems.

This brief survey is intended for specialty crop producers in the upper Midwest using organic practices (certified or not). This survey will take less than 5 min to complete and you can choose to end the survey at any time.

Link to the survey:


Foodways and COVID19

How has the pandemic changed food for you? How have you adapted your foodways to meet these new conditions?

 CIAS and Spatula&Barcode invite you to participate in the #COVIDFOODWAYS project.

Complete one or both surveys.

Consumers, please visit https://tinyurl.com/CovidFoodwaysSurvey.

Farmers, share your unique perspective at https://tinyurl.com/CovidFoodwaysProducersSurvey.

Hay versiones en español de ambas encuestas disponibles; contáctenos si las prefiere.

CIAS at #uwmadison is partnering with Spatula&Barcode, along with Universities in Uruguay, Sweden, Mexico, and Spain to track the effect of COVID19 on our food ways. We are especially interested in hearing from farmers, and ask you to share these links with farmer friends and colleagues.

We are all affected by the pandemic and its impact on our food systems–please forward this email to anyone who might be interested!

photo credit: Clark & Peterson

Attention Great Lakes Area Farmers!

Emergency relief funds are available for farms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Shared from Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Family farmers in the Great Lakes region impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can now access much-needed relief. 

Farm Aid, in partnership with Great Lakes area organizations, is awarding $500 emergency relief grants to help farmers meet household expenses. Families who rely on farming for their income and are experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic are encouraged to complete an application. 

Applications are reviewed as they are received and because there is a finite amount of funding available, farmers in need are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed by a state committee that includes advocates and other agricultural professionals. 

Approval is based on the applicant qualifying as a family farm and demonstrating economic loss. The online application opens June 6 at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FarmAidCOVIDGreatLakes

New NAS Publication Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food – Proceedings of a Workshop

On August 7–8, 2019, the National Academies of Sciences Food Forum hosted a public workshop in Washington, DC, to review the status of current and emerging knowledge about innovations for modern food systems and strategies for meeting future needs. The workshop explored new consumer demands related to high-quality, nutritious, and sustainable foods, along with policy and market place strategies in response to such demands. It included an opening session that provided a broad look at food systems, case studies in food system evolution, several sessions on various innovations in areas such as food packaging, distribution, and data and analytics, and a closing panel discussion.

I contributed a chapter on food logistics, based on work with many of you in the Driftless Region. This is your impact on a very important discussion about access to food and access to markets.

The full report or chapters may be downloaded free of charge at https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/innovations-in-the-food-system-shaping-the-future-of-food—a-workshop

Webinar: Using Maps for Food System Access and Planning

Wednesday, April 29 at 4:00pm ET, 1:00pm PT.

With COVID-19 disruptions in supply chains, mapping and analyzing food availability and flows can be powerful tools in guiding emergency food response and future food system planning. On this call, we’ll first look at the way communities have used mapping to collect and share information on food access. The second part of the discussion will give a systems overview of how segments of food supply chains interact at different scales, for different products, and for different end-users. This includes the patterns food distribution followed before COVID-19 and what the patterns might be after the pandemic. The call will help us best use food access maps while planning for food system improvements. 

We will be joined by:

·         Sara Oberle, RDN, Extension Teacher, UNH Cooperative Extension

·         Brooke Kelleher, Program Assistant, UNH Cooperative Extension

·         Michelle Miller, Associate Director of Programs, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems

This call is Wednesday, April 29 at 4:00pm ET, 1:00pm PT. Register here!