Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Bike the Barns West - Sunday, June 30th 2013

Posted by Bjorn Bergman on Mon, May 13, 2013 @ 04:44 PM

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.

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Tags: Local, Announcements, Events, Food, Farm, Organic, Rooted Spoon, Bike, Tour, Bike the Barns, CSA

Community Rights Workshop with Paul Cienfuegos Tuesday, May 14th

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, May 07, 2013 @ 01:58 PM

Do you ever wonder why it seems that we have no control over decisions that affect our quality of life in Vernon County? Come to a special 3 hour workshop with nationally recognized workshop leader and lecturer Paul Cienfuegos, and find out how Vernon County can take back local control through Community Rights Ordinances. 150 communities in eight states have passed or are in the process of passing Community Rights Ordinances that ban harmful but legal corporate activities such as factory farms/CAFOs, water withdrawal for bottling, fracking, mining, planting GMOs, and more. These communities are both conservative and liberal, rural and urban, small and large. Join us for this inspiring and timely talk about how other communities have stood up and stripped corporations of their so-called constitutional "rights", while ensuring the right of people to govern themselves locally.

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Tags: Announcements, Events, Classes, Community Rights Ordinances, Paul Cienfuegos

Women: The Future Face of Farming

Posted by Shana Meshbesher on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

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.

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Tags: Events, Farm, eating out of the garden, Legislation, Gardening, Edible Madison

VFC Greenhouse Open House

Posted by Bjorn Bergman on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 @ 01:53 PM

You're invited! The VFC is celebrating the coming of spring and the arrival of local and organic seedlings in our greenhouse by putting on our Greenhouse Open House! Stop by the VFC on Saturday, April 27th from 11am-3pm to join in on the festivities!

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Tags: Announcements, Events, Produce, All Store, Gardening, Seed Potatoes, Greenhouse Open House, Seeds, Seedlings

First Annual P6 Tailgate party at Viroqua Food Co-op

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Sat, Mar 09, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

Join us to cheer on your favorite local and cooperative producers!

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Tags: P6 Producers, Local, P6, Announcements, Events, Principle Six

Co-cycle Visit at Viroqua Food Co-op Provides Cooperative Model Awareness, Ideas Exchange

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Tue, Aug 07, 2012 @ 03:12 PM

By Royce Gustafson

Photos by Patrick Kouba and Royce Gustafson

How do cooperatives make the World a better place? That question is the focus of Co-cycle 2012, a group of college students from Amherst, MA who are bringing awareness to “The International Year of Cooperatives” as declared by the United Nations. They decided the best way to raise awareness was a biking trip across America. Coming from the West by way of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, La Crosse, WI and then locally through Westby, the students visited in Viroqua on Aug. 4, 2012 for the Viroqua Food Co-op (VFC) sponsored “Co-cycle Rally”. 

People who came to VFC on Saturday might have heard of the event or, if not, stopped by the tents out of curiosity. Bjorn Bergman, who heads up the Food Co-op’s Promotion and Education efforts, said a conscious effort was made to schedule the event at one the busiest times of the week. General Manager Jan Rasikas and Bergman represented the Food Co-op while Patrick Kouba, VFC’s graphic assistant, took photographs.  

State Senator Jennifer Schilling of the 32nd District visited during the earlier portion of the event and media was also present. WKBT 8 La Crosse interviewed Megan Meo, one of Co-cycle’s founders, and the segment aired on Saturday evening (see WKBT website for broadcast). WDRT 91.9 “Driftless Radio” conducted an interview with Co-cyclists Riko Fluchel and Katrina Ceguera.

 While traditional and independent media interests captured the rally, Co-cycle has a documentary film crew of NYU students accompanying them on their trip. Emma Thatcher is directing the documentary “To The Moon” which chronicles Co-cycle’s journey. Engin Karabagli, the filmographer, was a constant presence throughout the location as he interviewed members from Driftless Region cooperatives who were at the tables.

The cooperatives represented were:


 The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative donated 50 pounds of organic beef for the day. VFC Deli Manager Sean Kelley was present to put his culinary finesse to work at the grill. The burgers were a success: Kelley and others produced a continual stream of food for rally-goers. A portion of the burger sales was donated to Co-cycle, ultimately raising $284 for the cyclers as they continue their journey across the country. Even after the late morning sunshine had turned to clouds and then rain, the precipitation didn’t halt the event. Cyclists, cooperative members and other attendees pitched tent siding to protect the tables. The weather did provide a more reflective mood as the student cyclists summarized what they had learned thus far on their voyage. Several students mentioned the contrast between the open expanses of the American West and increase of communities East of the Mississippi. Some said were looking forward to reaching their ultimate goal – New York City – where they will bring what they’ve learned to a symposium on cooperatives.


After the rally ended Jan Rasikas took the cyclists on a tour of the Co-op. That evening a private dinner was held at the Rooted Spoon in Viroqua from 5 to 8 p.m. Representatives from various cooperatives gave presentations and Co-cycle members shared information about their tour.

To learn more about Co-cycle 2012 (and donate needed items for their trip) visit their website at You can also receive updates on Co-cycle’s progress by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tags: Events

VFC and McIntosh Memorial Library Programming

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 03:42 PM

This summer, the VFC and the McIntosh Memorial Library’s Adult Programming Committee are continuing their efforts to put on educational events about food and sustainable agriculture. In addition to the Farmstead Chef presentation on August 9th, there are a number of other educational events planned.

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Tags: Events

Grow, Harvest, Prepare & Share: An evening with the authors of “Farmstead Chef”

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:27 PM

You don’t need to be a chef to be a great cook. Whether you’re an urban farmer, farmers’ market regular or savor the flavors of fresh, local, seasonal cuisine, join award-winning Wisconsin co-authors Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko on Thursday Aug 9th at the Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table as they share simple tips for homegrown and homemade cooking, from preserving the harvest to stocking the pantry to building local community around your kitchen table.

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Tags: Events

Co-Cycle comes to the Coulee Region

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Thu, Jul 05, 2012 @ 11:58 AM

National Bike tour raising awareness about the benefits of cooperatives.

When a group of college students from Amherst, Massachusetts learned the United Nations was declaring 2012 The International Year of Cooperatives, it proved to have a galvanizing effect. The announcement prompted the students to create the Co-cycle Project, a youth-led, bike-powered tour linking cooperatives across the United States and designed to draw attention to cooperatives and how they contribute to making the world a better place.

Starting in San Francisco, California on June 2, and ending on Labor Day in Amherst, Massachusetts, members of the Co-cycle Project are making their way across the country, stopping in nine cities where two-day public events and workshops about cooperatives are being held. Through these events and workshops, Co-cycle is raising awareness about the economic, social and environmental benefits cooperatives offer. For more details on event locations and dates, or to join Co-cycle for all or a portion of their cross country trek, check out their website at to see their route. For details on how to join them for the local part of the ride (August 3-5), contact Bjorn Bergman at

Co-cycle’s journey will live on beyond this summer. The journey and events will be chronicled by a student film crew in a documentary (sponsored by the National Cooperative Grocers Association) which will serve as a “Cooperatives 101” tutorial, a vehicle for introductory education about cooperatives. The film will highlight the importance of dedication, innovation, and teamwork in making sustainable change for the future and the value of cooperative action.

From the onset, Co-cycle has been a student-led idea motivated by a wide range of intersecting passions. As the youth of (mostly) America, members of Co-cycle face a world full of complex problems whose solutions, they assert, will require imaginative, creative, and social justice-oriented thinking. They are motivated to learn and teach others about why cooperatives have increasingly become recognized for their ability to address complicated and interconnected local and global issues. And they are driven by hope and inspiration towards a better world.

Find more info about Co-cycle, their project and to follow their journey, visit

From August 3rd-5th, Co-Cycle will be in the Driftless Region! Join us for a Co-Cycle and area Co-ops meet and greet, free and open to the public.

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Tags: Cooperative, Events, co-cycle

Driftless Music Festival, July 7th & 8th!

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 @ 02:01 PM

Join in the music on July 7 at Eckhhardt Park, presenters of Driftless Jazz Festival, is pleased to bring you Driftless Music Festival 2012. Scheduled for July 7, 2012 in Eckhardt Park, next to the Vernon County Courthouse on Decker Streeet in Viroqua, this festival brings a wide variety of music and entertainment to your doorstep. And, once again, our goal is Community building: bringing together diverse music and musicians and creating interactions between various community segments in our region.

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Tags: Events