Publisher’s Letter: Spring 2014
By Jim Klousia 0
We thought it would be fun to try something new this spring. Our region’s bounty stretches well beyond your kitchen table and favorite restaurants, and after a brutal winter that most of us won’t remember fondly, spring is the time to rejuvenate our bodies and senses. Nourishing your largest organ and supporting local agriculture go hand in hand as we shed our layers, return to our gardens and celebrate the new season.
We also want to increase attention for a more contemplative topic: our changing farmer population. In his piece, “Contrary to Popular Belief," Logan explains why we may need to adapt our traditional image of farmers and embrace a rising counter-culture of “contrary farmers.” Since the majority of farmers under the age of 35 rely on off-farm work to provide their primary income, it’s imperative that we rejuvenate their efforts to steward the land and revitalize rural America.
One opportunity for young entrepreneurs to acquire wisdom from experienced farmer veterans is by participating in hands-on learning through the farm incubator program at the Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability. While bringing people together and encouraging self-confidence, the center provides the training, resources and market connections necessary for cultivating a successful agricultural endeavor.
Finally, we’re delighted to announce your 2014 Local Heroes. After an open submission period where we collected nominations from you and thousands of votes for your finalists, a common thread was unmistakable. The small, southwestern city of Viroqua screamed for your recognition and mobilized their supporters in every category. This diverse group of individuals, businesses and organizations are a testament to an inherent entrepreneurial spirit in our region. Their food forward focus is furthering an interconnected and sustainable food system in southern Wisconsin, and we hope you’ll share in our gratitude for their dedicated contributions.