A Wisconsin Local Food Purchase Assistance Story
In 1962, Nina Much’s parents purchased a farm on County Road O in Manawa. Their dream was to become pastured dairy farmers and support their growing family. Much was just one year old at the time and by nine years old she was milking her family’s cows. Sixty-one years after her parents originally purchased the farm, Much is honoring their legacy by managing a small herd of cattle on the property and enriching her community’s food system, with support from the Wisconsin Local Food Purchase Assistance Program (WI LFPA).
Much’s farm, Heritage Grange, is a testament to her family’s history on the land as well as her dedication to the food security of her neighbors.
“A part of me is trying to honor my mom and dad because I know how hard they worked to build the farm and build hope for their kids,” Much said. “I also wanted to do something local. I wanted local people to know where their meat was coming from and that they could actually just drive past my farm and see the animals.”
When information about the WI LFPA Direct to Farmer grants was released in 2022, Much applied immediately. She was chosen as one of the 165 farmers to be awarded a grant in the first year of WI LFPA, which provided her guaranteed income through the sale of three of her steers into the program. The additional benefit of participating in the WI LFPA program for Much was the contribution she could make to her community and the local food system.
At the end of the 2023 season, the animals that Much sold to the WI LFPA program were delivered to a butcher and then transported to food pantries by Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative. A portion of Much’s meat went to each food pantry in Waupaca County.
“I wanted to be able to make a difference in my immediate area by working with the food pantries within Waupaca County,” Much said.
In September 2023, Much hosted an event on her farm for the Waupaca County food pantry volunteers with food and music as a way to build community around the local food system and inspire a sense of interconnectedness.
"The volunteers deserve a thank you and [the event] was a way for them to meet the farmer that would be bringing the meat to their pantry. This new innovative approach - connecting the farmer and the food pantries directly - is helping thousands of families in one county as well as underserved farmers who can provide delicious, nutritious food"
Read the full story at wilocalfood.org.
ABOUT WI LFPA
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service to create the Wisconsin Local Food Purchase Assistance (WI LFPA) Program. The program aims to strengthen local food systems, support Wisconsin farmers, and distribute fresh nutritious foods to underserved communities.
DATCP is working collaboratively with producers, distributors, food security organizations, and Tribal partners to provide program development, coordinate transportation and logistics, and procure food from local producers through partnership with Marbleseed, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative. For more information about the WI LFPA program, visit wilocalfood.org.
Photos for use with this story are available here. Please credit the WI LFPA Program/Nina Much.