Thursday, September 27, 2012

Video - Making it Sustainable - the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Prevention Speaks, part of the University Health Services program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, produced a series of videos at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen last year.

I especially like this short video below called 'Making it Sustainable', highlighting the theme of this blog. I got the opportunity to do an overview of what an Innovation Kitchen can do and how we might build a network of collaborating projects regionally and across the country.

I'll link to other good videos about the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen below.

Thanks to Prevention Speaks for helping highlight the valuable work that the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen has pioneered.

Farmers Expanding Markets. Farmers Expanding Markets. "We grow enough quantity all the time that we have more than we can sell at the stores," says Kevin Lucey, farmer. And that's where Innovation Kitchen comes in. (1:26)

Overview of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. "A network of partners can benefit local farmers and schools with a facility focused on carefully controlling distribution , processing and packaging costs. Best of all, everyone gets a chance to regularly eat fresh, healthy food." (4:54)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Paul Jadin joins Thrive. Welcome!

The most important topic in the world of economic development is how to initiate and integrate positive change across bigger regions.

Our eight county Thrive region in South central Wisconsin has done some great work in developing this model.

Paul Jadin has just joined Thrive as head of its new leadership team. Welcome Paul!

The Thrive region is centered on Madison, Wisconsin, an amazing, globally relevant city with economic development possibilities baked in for decades to come.

The counties that share boundaries with Madison all contribute to our bigger, better story about this strategically cool region.

Our work in Iowa County area economic development has been a key driver in building a more cohesive regional Thrive network. The opportunities to expand these relationships are exciting.

Welcome to Thrive Paul. I am looking forward to working with you.


Iowa County Area Economic Development

Paul Jadin, LinkedIn

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rural food banks struggle to meet need

There was a great article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this weekend about the difficulty food banks are having getting enough food to meet the need.

The piece focused on problems in Southwest Pennsylvania, but it paints a picture that is universal among people working to support food programs across the U.S.

"Like the people they help, food pantries throughout southwestern Pennsylvania are struggling -- and in some cases, failing -- to make ends meet as skimpy federal food supplies, a tighter state budget, higher food prices and more needy clients strain resources."

This scenario is taking place all over the country. We need new and better ways of helping this situation.

One idea I've seen work is the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, in rural southwest Wisconsin. I've helped them launch their new model - a professionally staffed small-batch processing kitchen. This model also creates good jobs for people with disabilities. It also creates great new business opportunities for area farms.

This model can also include processing local foods for food bank programs as well as for retail sale.

A professionally staffed processing kitchen can make an immediate impact on a region in many ways: local jobs, support for local farms, increased food security, and great food.

We have a very good food system in the U.S. and it's getting better every day. However, there is a big space in the market that is clearly not being served by existing business models. Such as in the picture above. Such as all the small farms in this region that could be so much more productive with access to professional food processing services.

My goal has been to build a collaborative network of these kind of community focused facilities. This good article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is another argument for this kind of collaboration.

Rural food banks struggle to meet need. Written by Amy McConnell Schaarsmith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Photo of the Corner Cupboard Foodbank in Waynesburg, PA is copyright Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Voice of The River Valley and Enos Farms. Forward!

A great publication in our area is Voice of The River Valley. This month we welcome new Publisher and Editor Sara Lomasz Flesch, who takes over from Founder Mary Friedel-Hunt.

The Voice covers community events and great stories that inspire and enrich life in our area of the lower Wisconsin River. You can follow this great publication below.

This month features a great article about a friend of mine and a patron of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, Jeremy Lynch of Enos Farms. Enos Farms is in the Town of Wyoming in the northern part of Iowa County near Taliesen and Spring Green.

Jeremy and his fiancee Erin Crooks are featured in a wonderful article in this month's written by Sara Lomasz Flesch.

Here's a couple excerpts...

"Crooks and Lynch soon discovered their shared passion for food, cooking and farming and Crooks began working with Lynch in the fields at Enos Farms. She helped him refocus Enos Farms’ energies on catering weddings and other events featuring food grown, preserved, and/or procured from farms within 100 miles of Spring Green."

"Crooks had worked with the organization Outstanding in the Field, and last fall suggested hosting a similar event to promote the catering business and show off Enos Farms."

"After cutting trails on the farm and designating certain fields and groves for different courses of the gourmet meal, in October 2011 Enos Farms hosted its first in a series of “full moon dinners.” Cocktails, crackers and cheese were served in a vegetable field; a four-course gourmet meal was served in the walnut grove; and for dessert their guests hiked up to the knob and enjoyed coffee and dessert as the sun set and full moon rose."

"Subsequent dinners have featured themes like “Open Heart” for Valentine’s Day (Lynch’s birthday), “A Taste of the Isles,” and “Cinco de Mayo,” the latter of which featured black bean and spiced walnut tacos that guests can’t stop talking about. Future dinners are planned for Unity Chapel and Hilltop, those places of significance from Lynch’s child- hood that will also factor into another wedding they plan to host a year from now—their own."

The next farm dinner at Enos Farms is October 28th, their second annual Harvest Moon Dinner. You can join these good folks through the Enos Farms link below.

You can download the PDF copy of this great issue of Voice of the River Valley via the link below.

Congratulations Jeremy, Erin and Enos Farms!

Congratulations and welcome new Voice of The River Valley Publisher and Editor Sara Lomasz Flesch!

Enos Farms

Download the September issue of Voice of the River Valley. 7.4 MB