Southeastern Wisconsin has long been a leader in the world of manufacturing. That reputation might conjure images of machinery and tools. But nine percent of the items manufactured here are food products.
There are more than 250 food and beverage factories in southeastern Wisconsin, and the economic development group, the M7, estimates that those companies employ more than 14,000 workers and generate nearly $600 million in annual salaries. In this installment of “Project Milwaukee: What’s on our Plate?” WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson takes us to several operations that have been growing.
Wisconsin has long been known as the ‘dairy’ state, but it actually grows the biggest variety of crops in the nation. Farmers here are tops in cranberries, while soy is also huge, so is corn. Wisconsin is also near the top when it comes to growing and processing vegetables and meats. In this segment of our series, “Project Milwaukee: What’s On Our Plate,” we touch upon just a few of the products and related operations that link farm to market.
Our Project Milwaukee series What’s on Our Plate? continues with an overview of Wisconsin’s place at the food producing table. Kyle Cherek is known to many of us here in Milwaukee as the host of the syndicated television show Wisconsin Foodie, currently in its third season. It profiles where our food comes from, the region’s artisanal resources and culinary high points. Cherek is also a frequent contributor and speaker on culinary topics and the farm to table trend.
While Wisconsin may be number one, or close to it, in growing and producing many foods, a new agricultural report from Iowa State University finds there’s even more we could be doing in terms of fruits and vegetables. But some believe the issue is more challenging than just changing what farmers grow. Michelle Miller is associate director for the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at UW-Madison. She spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate? series.