Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa Food Co-ops Join Efforts for Farm Flood Victims
Margaret Bert, Director of Communications
Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative
Milwaukee, WI: The remnants of tropical storm Erin and the ensuing Midwest summer floods have literally washed away the harvest for many family farmers living and farming in the Kickapoo River basin and other neighboring regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
“This flood is particularly disastrous to farmers in that area because they are just getting ready to harvest their summer crops,” says Margaret Bert, Director of Communications for Outpost Natural Foods. “For some of our local produce suppliers, their summer harvest has been wiped out, not to mention some of their homes.”
According to Barth Anderson, research and development coordinator for the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, “Just to put in perspective how much money these farmers have lost: According to [CBS affiliate WCCO], Jack Hedin of Featherstone has already written off $200,000 worth of produce and Richard de Wilde of Harmony Valley mentioned a similar number.”
Food co-ops have joined together in solidarity to support their farmers in need.
“Sow the Seeds Fund” has been designated specifically for flood relief. Outpost Natural Foods’ local campaign to support the fund will run from August 24 through September 31 (the typical harvest season). All proceeds raised will go directly to Wisconsin and Minnesota farmers that supply the co-ops in the Midwest region (our common vendors so to speak).
Co-ops that so far have committed to participate in this fundraising effort include:
Outpost Natural Foods
Willy Street (Madison)
Eastside Food Co-op
Just Food Co-op
St. Peter Food Co-op
New Pioneer Co-op
People in Milwaukee can contribute 5 ways to this fund
- Cash donations will be accepted at all Outpost customer service desks. Checks made out at the register should be made to “Sow The Seeds Fund”
- Register lanes will also have giving jars where folks can give spare change
- Starting September 1, Peace Coffee (Fair Trade/Organic) has a “Sow the Seeds Blend” where $2 from every pound sold goes towards the general fund – Outpost will be carrying this coffee blend – look for displays in the bulk department
- Send a check to: Sow the Seeds Fund, c/o I.A.T.P., 2105 First Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55404 (Payable to Sow the Seeds Fund)
- Donate directly online
Donations are tax-deductible
The Outpost Natural Foods fund drive will run from August 22 through September 31, 2007.
The IATP/Sow the Seeds Fund is a project of The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. They promote resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy. Minnesota food co-ops joined together to establish the Sow the Seeds Fund many years ago to provide their shoppers with a tax-deductible way to support local family farms.
The Outpost Natural Foods is, according to Margaret Bert, “happily in its 37th year serving the greater Milwaukee area.: Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative operates three successful locations at 100 East Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, 7000 West State Street, Wauwatosa, and 2826 South Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee. The co-op is co-owned by over 13,000 individuals from Southeastern Wisconsin, it employs over 300 people, as well as publishes a free monthly food and wellness magazine (The Exchange). Outpost is the fourth largest cooperatively owned natural food grocer in the United States.
For more information, email Margaret at [email protected]
or call her at 414-431-3377 x170.