POLK COUNTY – It would be surprising to learn that more net income comes into Polk and Burnett counties through SNAP (food stamps) than through agriculture. Residents of the two counties spend more than $192 million each year on food, but well over 90% of the food we eat is imported from other places. With the average farmer receiving $0.14 on every dollar spent on food, this is a game changer for direct selling farmers to set their own price and get 100% of the profits.
The St Croix Valley Food Alliance (SCVFA) is a new initiative of the Polk-Burnett Chapter of the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) focused on building community through local food. Their mission is to strengthen and promote a thriving, resilient and equitable local food economy in the St. Croix River Valley. The initiative was developed by a steering committee of farmers and food workers passionate about issues related to supporting farmers, food security, climate change and a healthy watershed.
In May 2022, with WFU as their fiscal sponsor, they submitted a grant to the USDA Local Food Promotion Program. A requirement of the grant was to raise 25% of the amount in matching funds from community partners. Through grassroots efforts, SCVFA was able to meet the grant requirements. If they receive the remaining 75% from the USDA in September, they will be able to hire a staff member, over three years, to coordinate mechanisms that will unleash more opportunities for the expansion of a local food economy.
Learn more about this exciting initiative and how you can get involved. The official launch party will be Wednesday, August 10 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Community Homestead Farm, 501 280th St Osceola, WI. Everyone, farmers and eaters, are invited to celebrate the family farms that feed their communities.
Activities will include complimentary farm-fresh food, guided honey tasting, a premiere film featuring some of the participating farmers, guest speakers, a farmers’ roundtable and activities for children including a live puppet show ! Deb Ryun, Executive Director of Wild River Conservancy, will explain how important this work is to maintaining healthy watersheds.
National Farmer’s Market Week (which began in 1999) runs August 7-13 this year. It celebrates the more than 8,700 national farmers’ markets. These markets provide fresh and healthy food; preserve local family farms; stimulate rural economic development; and ensure long-term food security. Come and meet your visionary farmers of the future! A splendid time is guaranteed for everyone!