Madison, WI – April 13, 2011 – This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of Wisconsin’s very first Farm Fresh Atlas. The guide to local food was created ten years ago by a group of farmers, businesses and sustainable food advocates that wanted to make it easier for folks to find and purchase local food.
Miriam Grunes, executive director of REAP Food Group, the organization responsible for publishing the Southern Wisconsin Farm Fresh AtlasTM, explains why it is so important to continue providing this free resource: “The interest in local foods has skyrocketed over the last 10 years. More and more we all want to know where our food comes from and how it’s grown,” says Miriam.
In addition to serving as a guide to great local food, the Atlas also records the success of Wisconsin’s sustainable food movement. In its first year the guide was a simple map with a list of 50 farms and 20 farmers’ markets; today it is a 48 page full-color booklet that includes 103 farms, 51 farmers’ markets and 65 different businesses and restaurants. Over the years other regions in Wisconsin picked up on the idea, giving rise to a whole family of Farm Fresh Atlases produced by organizations around the state (visit www.farmfreshatlas.org for a complete list of all WI Farm Fresh Atlases).
Originally designed as a resource to expand the local food economy, the Atlas has become a valued tool for other economic sectors as well. The tourism, real estate, and healthcare industries all use the Atlas to showcase unique qualities of our area and to provide guidance for improving health and nutrition.
The Atlas is a collaborative project of the REAP Food Group, the Dane County Farmers’ Market, the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Friends of the Dane County Farmers’ Market. It is underwritten by Heartland Credit Union.
The Atlas will be available at the Dane County Farmers’ Market information booth at the top of State Street as well as other farmers’ markets, public libraries, farms, food co-ops and other area businesses. For an online version of the Atlas, go to www.reapfoodgroup.org.
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