A local food organization was born.
In 2006, interest in local food was just beginning to climb in Central Wisconsin. Around that time, food became a focal point of discussion based on its inherent value to all residents. The subject motivated community members to host public forums in 2007 and 2008 that began initial brainstorming sessions related to the concept of regional food system development. Those forums brought together the community at large with experts on many sides of the issues. Out of the forums, a local food organization was born called Central Rivers Farmshed.
Early on, Farmshed was run by passionate volunteers who met for breakfast weekly to discuss program opportunities. These meetings led to educational programming at the farmers market, a Local Food Fair, a Beginning Farmer Course, and a free local food publication called the Central Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas. Farmshed’s community programming was made possible by dedicated volunteers who took responsibility for each program’s success. Early efforts began raising awareness around local food resources throughout our region and over the next several years more volunteers got involved. In conjunction with the interest, the organization’s programming schedule grew.
In 2011, Farmshed set forth on a long-term project; hiring an Executive Director, and beginning work on the transformation of an abandoned garden center in downtown Stevens Point. The vision for the space included a community food center complete with 8,000 square feet in production greenhouses, a commercial kitchen, and community gathering space. Since then, the Farmshed staff, board, and volunteers have worked to raise funds, renovate, and update the 36,000 square foot property and create new programming onsite; making the property a home for food system efforts in Central Wisconsin for many years to come.