Viroqua Food Co+op Microlending Initiative
2020 Microlending Applications – Now Available!
The VFC Microlending Committee invites any local farm or business selling food or products at the Viroqua 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 2020 and announce the recipient(s) in the 2019 Spring Pea Soup 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.
2018 Microloan Awarded to B&E's Trees
B&E’s Trees is a local certified organic maple syrup producer located outside Cashton, WI, and co-owned by Bree (B) Breckel and Eric (E) Weninger. They are best know for their delicious, certified organic Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, which is made in collaboration with Central Waters Brewing Company of Amherst, WI. The brewery sources freshly used bourbon barrels, which B&E’s repurposes to age certified organic maple syrup at the Food Enterprise Center in Viroqua. When their syrup is mature, they return the maple-soaked barrels to Central Waters to age their limited release Maple Barrel Stout. Demand for both the maple syrup and the beer have far exceeded production.
B&E’s received a $3,500 one year no-interest microloan from VFC to turn a space at the Food Enterprise Center into a maple syrup aging rick house. A rick house is a traditional facility where whiskey is aged in barrels, taking on the smoky, vanilla flavors naturally found in charred white oak barrels. This project allows them to increase their maple syrup aging capacity, which allows them to more closely meet the demands for their delicious maple syrup. Learn more about their ongoing projects at: www.bandestrees.com
Congratulations again to Bree Breckel and Eric Weninger of B&E's Trees!
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.