A networking meeting to help area fruit and vegetable farmers connect with foodservice buyers and chefs is set for March 5.
"This meeting provides a unique opportunity for farmers, chefs and distributors to meet and discuss doing business together. It's a great way to keep the farm-to-table efforts going in Dane County and support our local economy," said Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive.
The meeting will feature facilitated and open networking time, a group discussion, and a panel of local produce leaders. Panelists are Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Southern Wisconsin Food Hub; Diane Chapeta, Fifth Season Cooperative; and Jennifer Borchardt, Harvest Moons Farms and Family Farmed.
Connecting farmers and buyers is the latest step taken by Parisi to support local businesses. Last year, Dane County became the first unit of government to join Dane Buy Local, one of the most successful buy local initiatives in the country.
A study commissioned by Dane Buy Local found $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business remains in the local economy, versus $43 from a similar purchase at other businesses.
The meeting, "Local Produce for Foodservice," will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at the Alliant Energy Center Exposition Hall in Madison from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Participants must register in advance. A registration form is available online www.ifmwi.org
or by calling 608-224-3710.
The meeting is funded by a "Specialty Crop Block Grant" through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) that was received by a Dane County UW-Extension Program called the Institutional Food Market Coalition (IFM).
Dane County's IFM is an economic development program established to create new market opportunities in Dane County for regional farms and local food businesses by increasing the sales of local Wisconsin food to large volume buyers of food.
Since 2006, Dane County's IFM has generated over $4.3 million in local food sales, and continues a long history of Dane County's leadership in promoting agriculture.