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WFU Helping to Create New Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/08/2013

The Wisconsin Farmers Union is hoping to establish new avenues for growers and buyers of locally grown fresh produce to come together through a newly created business venture. It's called the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative and it will be dedicated to allowing farmers better control of their markets and receive profitable prices for their products.

Coordinators say WFHC members will aggregate their produce to meet the larger volume requirements of intermediate buyers such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals through existing distribution. All of the fresh foods will be grown exclusively in Wisconsin.

The business will limit up-front risks for its farmers by providing sales, marketing and logistic services for commodity type produce, specialty produce, meats, cheese and value added products.

"The Food Hub will provide a vital service by helping me access markets I could not service alone and that allows me to concentrate on what I do best, growing good food," said Mark Olson, who is one of the members of the co-op. "The service of matching my growing style to the proper market is a refreshing approach to developing the local food market. It is great that all I have to do to access the local market now is join the co-op and be a good farmer. I do not need to be an account executive, sales person, marketer, logistics coordinator and a farmer."

WFU Director Tom Quinn adds that the equity investment in the business fits well with the WFU's larger mission of assuring good prices for family farmers and developing competitive markets that support families and communities in Wisconsin.

The cooperative will be managed by Lynn Olson.

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