Viroqua Food Co+op Microlending Initiative
2021 Microlending Applications – Now Available!
The VFC Microlending Committee invites any local farm or business selling food or products at a local farmers market or directly to the VFC to apply for a one-year no-interest loan of up to $3,500. Through the VFC Microlending Initiative, VFC aims to strengthen small, local farmers and producers that are part of our local food system.
The VFC Microlending Initiative Committee (includes VFC Staff and Board of Directors) will review applications in late January 2021 and announce the recipient(s) in the 2021 Spring Newsletter.
Please reach out to Bjorn Bergman, VFC Outreach Coordinator, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (608) 637-7511.
Types of projects funded by the VFC Microlending Initiative are the ones that:
1. Help fill a hole in local food system by expanding production and/or distribution of products.
2. Purchase equipment to increase efficiency and decrease production costs.
3. Help a local producer grow their business.
2020 Microloan Awarded to Driftless Provisions
Driftless Provisions is the recipient of the 2020 VFC Microloan
Driftless Provisions is an artisan dry-cured salami business owned and operated by Ryan Wagner and Justin VerMeer in Viroqua, Wisconsin. As with many startup food businesses, Driftless Provisions has gone through a variety of growing pains. They currently have their salamis made by a private label brand in the Midwest using sustainably raised pork. In the future, they are striving to open their own production facilities in the Driftless region as soon as they are able. In the meantime, they are focusing on growing their business through story-telling until they can secure the capital to take the next step with their business.
With this microloan of $2,855 Driftless Provisions is purchasing a label printer, which will reduce the cost and headache of making labels for each batch. Additionally, they are purchasing photography equipment to help them continue to tell the story of their salami on their website and social media.
VFC is excited to support this growing local food business and we invite you to support them as well by picking up a Driftless Provisions salami next time you are in the meat department. We currently offer Driftless Provisions salami in six different flavors.
Congratulations again to Ryan Wagner and Justin VerMeer of Driftless Provisions!
Microfinance: the granting of very small loans. While this is a concept most closely associated with the developing world, tight credit and the recession have increased the demand for smaller loans in the United States, giving microlending a higher profile and broadening its appeal.
Interest-free loans are opposite of the normal cycle all too many farmers find themselves in – the cycle of high interest loans, debt, and the inability to reach financial security and true economic viability through their business. VFC’s intention is to share the resources that we have to better enable farmers to provide us with the food and resources needed to live a healthy life.
Through the VFC Microlending Initiative we hope to strengthen small, local farms and other businesses that are part of our local food system and create opportunities to improve their operations.