Have you noticed? Warmer weather is officially here. That means it’s time to start bicycling and eating fresh local food! On June 29, you can do both, while learning about local farms that supply produce to the Viroqua Food Co-op and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), by riding in the 2nd Annual Bike the Barns Driftless!
Viroqua Food Co+op Blog
This November, I had the opportunity to attend the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture in Des Moines, Iowa, which was a three day conference attended by over 400 women and “a few intrepid men”!
During more than one session, I listened to the women presenters start their session with anecdotal jabs about how a few times during the year, they secretly wish how they could work in a cubicle, leave their daily stresses at work, and come home to relax. Instead, they are farmers or agricultural advocates whose work never stops when they are home. Despite the antagonistic quips, all of the presenters were quick to inspire attendees through never-ending passion that resonated through each of their stories and objective teachings.
Holly Carroll, both a teacher and the Oklahoma State Farm Bureau Coordinator, focused on reaching and retaining new young leaders in agriculture. She reminded the room full of women of all ages that even though you may not relate to interacting with your “target market” or peers through social media, it is where our younger generations spend their time. If you have a story to tell, but none of the time it takes to put it into a blog or website, recruit a student in the community who can make it their school project to assist you. Not only does this offer them the opportunity to work with social media (something they already excel at), but by studying your story it gives them reason to take stock in what you do by integrating them into your livelihood. It may even plant the seed for them to get involved in the sustainable agriculture movement in the future! So despite technology being a barrier that may separate us sometimes, it is evermore meaningful to connect with others by way of social media tools.
In the last session I attended at the conference, Wendy Allen, both a PR Professional for Organic Valley and a Writer/Content Editor for Edible Madison, explained how important it is to tell your story – especially when trying to bring a focus to your business, products, etc. More and more people want to feel connected to what they are purchasing. Through a writing/reading exercise, Wendy revealed how when others read and relate to your story, you give them reason to further invest in you and your products or services.
As a native of the Viroqua Area I feel quite privileged to be back here, in hopes to pour whatever strength and courageous ambition I have back into what I do here at the Viroqua Food Co-op. I have a lot of role models who take what they are good at and find a way to surround themselves with as much of it as possible- and it’s contagious (those of you reading this article most likely qualify... yeah, YOU)!
Recently, I found a way to be of service to the people/farmers who grow my food, even if I’m not working on a farm. Every week I help Linda Gallardo, the VFC Produce Manager, tell the story of what is most fresh and local in the produce department. Together, we take two to four products and feature them with a fun recipe, an educational blurb, or interesting ways other food bloggers are working with the same subject matter, and then publish it on our local food blog called “Fresh & Local”. This blog is the Co-op’s way of storytelling and spreading the great word about what our local producers are up to and how you can directly support them when you vote with your dollars here at the VFC.
Please sign up for our weekly email blog by clicking on the “email sign up” symbol in the upper right-hand corner of most pages on this website. Each email takes just a few minutes to read and updates you with what is fresh and locally available at the Co-op!
The Gleaned Foods Project will have a table at the Viroqua Food Co-op on Saturday, June 29th from 11am-3pm. Please stop by and learn more about how you can get involved in this great community program.
Do you enjoy riding your bicycle in the rolling hills of the Driftless? Do you love local food? Are you interested in learning more about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and the local farms that supply produce to the Viroqua Food Co-op? If you answered yes to all those questions, do we have the event for you!
Bike the Barns West is a recreational bicycle tour featuring FairShare CSA Coalition farms and local food in the Driftless region on Sunday, June 30. This unique bike tour takes riders to CSA farms around the region to raise awareness of and participation in local CSA farms. Bike the Barns West riders travel a 52 mile scenic route that starts and ends in Readstown, Wisconsin and visits Keewaydin Farm and Small Family Farm, both of which are CSA farms that supply delicious organic produce to the Viroqua Food Co-op. The ride is fueled by gourmet food grown by local farmers and prepared by Rooted Spoon Culinary, including snacks, lunch, and post-ride refreshments.
Funds raised through rider pledges support FairShare CSA Coalition’s Partner Shares Program, a community initiative to improve access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables, and support local farmers. Bike the Barns West is a fantastic way to roll through the countryside, visit local farms, eat delicious local food, and support a great cause.
As the new VFC Marketing Assistant, I wasn’t sure how to take full advantage of my one-day ticket to this year's 24th annual Organic Farming Conference (OFC). I struck it rich when attending a couple workshops based on Women in Farming and Agriculture. These knowledgeable presenters have actually written books on these subjects, so please see the resources listed at the end of this article.
by Bjorn Bergman,
Promotions and Educational Coordinator
On Monday, April 2nd 2012, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and a number of individuals from USDA Rural Development and the Wisconsin Farm Services Agency visited Viroqua to learn about the developing local food economy in our region.
Assistant Produce Manager
Spring circles around again, and as we have for thousands of years, we plant seeds of hope for our future. The seed is the beginning of the cycle and also the end. These days, as we vote with our dollars, we can choose to continue supporting the return to a clean planet by buying seed that was grown organically.
The event will feature:
- Small Family CSA, Jillian Jacquinot, La Farge, WI
- Ridgeland Harvest, Cate and Mat Eddy, Viroqua, WI
- Driftless Organics, Noah Engel, Soldiers Grove, WI
We hope to see you there!
About Community Supported Agriculture (CSA):
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between the CSA member and the farmer. Farm members buy a CSA share each spring. In return they receive a weekly box of produce directly from the the farm that is delivered to a dropsite near their home. Produce is delivered during the height of the growing season for 15-22 weeks. With each box of produce, members receive a newsletter of farm news, recipes and cooking tips. CSA represent a great way for citizens to support local agriculture, support sustainable family farms, know their farmer, and increase their consumption of nutritious locally produced fruits and vegetables.