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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Wisconsin’s Buy Local Buy Wisconsin Grants Program: Creating Economic Development

A Bright Spot of New Growth in Wisconsin’s Economy

In just the first two years of the Buy Local Buy Wisconsin grants program, it has proven its worth: 38 new jobs and over $2.7 million in new local food sales!

With an initial investment of $447,700 in the first two years of grants, that is over a 5:1 return on investment. Additionally, these projects created $600,000 worth of new investments, such as infrastructure improvements, and helped retain 35 jobs.

Buy Local Buy Wisconsin funded projects reached 1200 producers and 500 markets – and these are not just small farms. The Buy Local Buy Wisconsin program supports farms and markets of all sizes, reaching rural and urban areas alike. Some examples of funded projects are:

  • a co-op to sell food to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire
  • a centralized distribution hub for small scale growers to aggregate their products and sell to larger markets
  • an urban cheese factory in Milwaukee for Cedar Grove Cheese
  • connections with growers to increase local foods offered by the Wisconsin distribution company Neesvig’s

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection worked with Steve Deller, a University of Wisconsin Agricultural Economist, to determine the impact of this program, including an overall impact of $4.2 million in increased business sales.

In otherwise dreary or stagnant news about the agricultural industry, Buy Local Buy Wisconsin is one bright spot of new growth and economic development.