Second Wisconsin Local Food Expo Set for September 18th
September 06, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
Will Connect Food Producers, Buyers, and Sellers to Help Strengthen Local Food Economy
The second Wisconsin Local Food Expo, an event started last year to strengthen the local food economy by connecting farmers and food operations to large-scale buyers, will be held on September 18th, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
“Our annual local food expo is yet another way Dane County is working to strengthen our local foods economy,” said Parisi. “The expo shows our local buyers that you don’t need to go far to get the best products around, and support our local farm families in the process.”
Wisconsin farmers and food businesses represented at the expo will include local meat and cheese producers, dessert and baked goods producers, specialty and gourmet item manufacturers, and more. These sellers will meet buyers from restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions such as hospitals and schools in networking sessions throughout the day. Specialty and broad-line distributors will also attend in order to meet new customers and identify new local foods.
The expo can help Wisconsin’s food producers expand their bottom line and increases exposure for their products. This year, the meeting features a special morning session where attendees have the opportunity to introduce themselves to everyone in the room, in an effort to help buyers and sellers use their business to business networking time effectively. Last year, the expo attracted buyers and sellers from 23 Wisconsin counties.
“Neesvig’s came to the Wisconsin Local Food Expo in 2011 and we had a great experience,” said Callie LaPoint, Buy Local Specialist at Neesvig’s/Empire Fish. “We are a distributor in Windsor that has a strong buy local program. Because of the meeting we began selling local Wisconsin meat and cheese to a hospital, and we also met new local producers to add to our line and expand in the retail sector.”
The expo, “Local Food Means Business” will be held on Tuesday, September 18th, at the Alliant Energy Center Expo Hall in Madison from 9am to 2pm. Participants must register in advance for the Expo by calling (608) 224-3710 or finding registration forms on the IFM website, www.ifmwi.org.
The Expo is the result of a unique partnership between the county, state government, and private food providers, co-hosted by Dane County UW-Extension’s Institutional Food Market Coalition (IFM) and Something Special from WisconsinÔ, a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) program.
Dane County’s IFM was established as an economic development program for the purpose of creating new market opportunities for Dane County and regional growers, and local food businesses, by increasing the sales of local Wisconsin food to institutions and other large volume buyers. 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.
Speakers will include the Executive Producer of Wisconsin Foodie, Arthur Ircink, and host Kyle Cherek. The PBS television show has been nominated for an Emmy. The weekly program features the stories of Wisconsin chefs, farmers, and food producers.
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