Photos courtesy SCVFA
Nearly 200 people showed up the evening of Wednesday, October 11 for the second annual St. Croix Valley Food Alliance (SCVFA) harvest celebration. The SCVFA is the main initiative of the Polk/Burnett Farmers Union, which was started last year to serve as a localized marketing co-op and community building effort in Polk and Burnett counties. Sponsors of the event included Wild River Conservancy and host, The Acreage in Osceola.
Food produced by SCVFA farmers was the centerpiece of the evening along with live music, a raffle-style fundraiser featuring products donated by SCVFA member farmers as well as supporting small businesses, kids activities, a presentation about the year’s accomplishments by chapter president Kristy Allen, and a climate focused address by farmer Dan Guenthner.
It was a beautiful evening of people working together to create a food system that benefits farmers, eaters, ecological systems, and watersheds. The most fun was had by kids taking full advantage of running blissfully through acres of very child-friendly habitat. A splendid time was had by all.
Attendees learned that in the past year, the SCVFA did the following:
- Secured funds from a local initiatives grant from WFU to start building a brand: a website, promo video and a social media presence.
- Hosted a very successful inaugural event with 150 farmers and community members
- Organized and implemented a Winter Farmers Market at Abrahamson’s Nursery in St. Croix Falls in 2022 with plans for year 2 in the same location.
- SCFVA partnered with the University of Madison WI Department of Community and Environmental Sociology to develop more promo materials as well as more ways to tell their story and determine collective impact as an alliance of watershed and climate-conscious farms.
- Awarded a second local initiatives grant from Wisconsin Farmers Union to establish EBT and SNAP benefits at local farmers markets and are currently in the process of developing this program starting with the winter market.
- Marbleseed (biggest organic farming conference in the US) invited the SCVFA to present with two other community food builders at their annual conference in La Crosse.
- Partnered with Polk County Health Department Drug-Free Communities, Polk United, FoodWise, St. Croix Valley Food Bank, Osceola Medical Center, Amery Medical Center and St. Croix Health to help facilitate the POP program at St. Croix Falls Farmers Market.