Last fall, the VFC Board of Directors announced a new Microlending Initiative. Through this program, an individual or farm that is currently selling their product to the VFC is eligible for an interest-free loan of up to $3000, to be paid back within one year. Through the Microlending Initiative we hope to strengthen small, local farms that supply the Co-op and create opportunities to improve their operations. The Microlending Initiative was developed under the direction of the Board of Directors by the Microlending Committee, which consists of two VFC Board Members and two VFC Managers.
The Microlending Committee is pleased to announce that Pat Slattery will be the recipient of this year’s microloan for $3000. Slattery will use the funds to expand his farm’s Brussels sprout production. Slattery’s intent is to extend the season and take over more of the California sales volume with the VFC by developing some planting and harvest tools to make more efficiencies. As it now stands, Brussels sprouts are largely grown along the cool, coastal climate in northern California, but Wisconsin’s pre-thanksgiving frost weather produces sweeter, tastier Brussels sprouts. “With today’s emphasis on fresh and local foods, we believe it’s time Brussels become a Driftless mainstay in the long list of what grows especially well here,” says Slattery.
Indeed, the VFC sold 15% more Brussels sprouts this past season than the previous year—and this year’s season isn’t over yet. Just over 64% of VFC Brussels sales are locally grown, and Pat Slattery hopes to produce enough Brussels in the coming season that VFC will not have to purchase any from California.
The VFC Microlending Committee and the VFC Community would like to congratulate Mr. Slattery. This is a win-win for farmers and locavores!
VFC Microlending Committee