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MADISON

Seven local food projects are the latest recipients of Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Designed to help farmers and food processors reach new local markets, the grants will provide consumers access to even more Wisconsin-grown food products, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to Wisconsin barley and organic maple syrup.

'I'm pleased DATCP was able to provide support for these innovative local food projects,' said Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Program Manager Teresa Engel. 'The grants are intended to support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, and outcomes generated by the grant recipients will provide benefits to local communities and serve as models for others in the local food industry.'

DATCP received 23 funding requests of over $750,000. Ultimately, seven projects totaling $200,000 were selected to receive grants.

The 2016 grantees are:

· B & E's Trees, LLC , La Crosse — In cooperation with Central Waters Brewing Company, create a value-added marketing, packaging and distribution plan designed to increase awareness of the culinary diversity of Wisconsin including a bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and a maple barrel stout beer.

· The Cannery Public Market, Green Bay — Develop cross-promotional marketing and sales programs to increase local farmer sales at the new Cannery Public Market in Green Bay and increase collaboration between diverse groups of buyers and farmers.

· Eastside Farmers Market, Madison — Provide support to the Eastside Farmers Market in Madison as it relocates from the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center to the new Eastside Central Park.

· Fizzeology Foods, Viroqua — Expand the product line and create three new jobs at Fizzeology Foods, a company that purchases produce seconds from local farms, much of which would otherwise be wasted, and distributes the produce to retail consumer markets statewide.

· Hodan Community Services, Inc., Mineral Point — In cooperation with business development partner, Innovation Kitchens LLC, create new capacity and opportunities for Wisconsin value-added foods and food businesses.

· REAP Food Group, Madison — Provide producer-buyer matchmaking and brokering services that will result in an increase of more than $300,000 in local sales for producers in southern Wisconsin from wholesale buyers.

· Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, Madison — Expand the market opportunity for Wisconsin farmers by increasing June and July sales of lettuce, zucchini and yellow squash and extending the timing of sales of winter squash through the Thanksgiving holiday.

The program has been funded since 2008. Since its inception, the program has funded 45 projects, totaling $1.2 million. Previous grant recipients have generated more than $7 million in new local food sales, created and retained 187 jobs, and benefitted more than 2,365 producers and 1,380 markets.

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