Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year to all!
In 2015, we are entering our ninth year of fostering economic development in Vernon County and the surrounding region. Our list of accomplishments continues to grow.
In 2014, VEDA did the following: helped more businesses start up or expand and create jobs; completed additional renovations at the Food Enterprise Center (FEC) and helped its 14 entrepreneurial tenants succeed and grow; facilitated monthly Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club meetings; partnered with agencies and services to explore home care issues; continued to work with community members to revitalize the Village of Ontario; hosted a mid-winter celebration of local food; served as the central point of contact for tourism in the county; and helped Fifth Season Cooperative to develop value-added frozen vegetable products and Community Hunger Solutions to expand its distribution and education efforts to food pantries and meal sites throughout the region—both activities benefitting small area farmers.
VEDA also received statewide recognition in May 2014 when Wisconsin Rural Partners honored the Food Enterprise Center with a Wisconsin Top Rural Development Initiative Award for “demonstrating the spirit of partnership and collaboration in creating positive community impacts.” We invite you to recognize the benefits of a coordinated approach to economic development and help us build on our success. We’ve been able to leverage funding for our projects but rely on generous contributions from individuals, businesses, municipalities and memberships for our operating expenses.
VEDA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization so your contributions are tax deductible. Please consider becoming a member and supporting our efforts. Go to our website at www.veda-wi.org and click on About VEDA and Join Us for more information.
Wisco Pop now available in single serve bottles
Good news! Wisco Pop’s craft brewed soda is now available in chilled single-serve bottles at restaurants and retail stores. You can purchase their bottles of root beer, ginger or cherry soda at the Viroqua Food Co-op, in Madison at the Conscious Carnivore, Madison Sourdough, Fromagination, Willy Street Co-op and at A Pig in a Fir Coat restaurant. Milwaukee outlets include Bavette restaurant and the Beans & Barley Deli, Market, Café. Real. Fresh. Soda!
Fifth Season Co-op expands vegetables into Chicago
Fifth Season Cooperative, another innovative tenant in the FEC, is expanding its frozen vegetable line into markets in the Chicago area.
Coupled with family-owned frozen food processor member Sno Pac Foods in Caledonia, Minnesota, Fifth Season is experiencing great success with its regionally-sourced frozen vegetable blends, “Winter Moon” and “Wisconsin Potato Fusion.” The cooperative’s new direction and success recently received national recognition as the co-op was featured in the online Monthly News of the Wallace Center at Winrock International in Arlington, Virginia, on behalf of the National Good Food Network.
Shortage of home care workers predicted to worsen
Vernon County, like the rest of the nation, has an aging population.
According to Pat Peterson, Director of the county’s Unit on Aging, “Currently, one in five Vernon County residents is age 60 and older, and this reflects a world-wide trend of growth for older populations.” A shortage of health care workers to meet the needs of the elderly and disabled living at home already exists in our region and is predicted to worsen.
With this in mind, a group of area stakeholders continues to meet with the goal of coordinating services for employers providing home care services including continuing education, to develop a sustainable home care workforce and fill gaps in home care needs, enabling our elders and other populations with special needs to remain healthy in their homes.
If you would like to join this effort, please contact Peterson at 608-637-5201 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue Noble, Executive Director of VEDA, at 608-638-8332 or email@example.com.
Neidert is a member of the board of the Vernon Economic Development Association in Viroqua.