All week, WUWM has been exploring the strength of Wisconsin’s food industry, including its economic impact here in the southeast.
The state’s lion’s share is its commodities such as grains and dairy products, as well as processed foods. They’re sold across the country, and Wisconsin continues to develop markets overseas, because that’s where 96 percent of the world’s eaters live.
But the state is also begun promoting the local food movement; it encourages residents to buy foods produced close to home. The goal is to put fresher, more nutritious items on tables, while generating more business for Wisconsin producers.
Here’s more from WUWM's Marge Pitrof, on this, our our final day of Project Milwaukee: What’s on Our Plate?
There’s a national movement afoot to grow more food in cities.
And the Milwaukee area stands out as an urban agricultural hotbed, as raised gardens multiply in backyards, empty lots and community spaces. Another promising piece of urban food production is called “aquaponics”.
They’re systems that combine fish and produce.
On this final day of our Project Milwaukee series on the local food economy, Environmental Reporter Susan Bence introduces us to local innovators using this fishy model to inspire future leaders.
As part of our special broadcast to conclude Project Milwaukee, WUWM’s Bob Bach interviewed Paulette Flynn, Executive Director of SHARE Wisconsin. SHARE is a food-buying club, which offers families discounts on food purchases in exchange for volunteer work. The local branch serves more than 21,000 people each month at nearly 200 locations in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northeastern Minnesota, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Today, we continue our Project Milwaukee Series: What’s On Our Plate? We’re exploring the impact the food industry has on the local economy. As we reported yesterday, more than 14,000 people in the greater Milwaukee area work for food and beverage manufacturers. But the number grows by thousands, when you include the workforce involved in building machinery for the food industry and moving its products, as well as making them more appealing. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis visited a few local employers that enhance Wisconsin’s food industry. When most people go to the grocery store, they probably don’t give much thought to all the work that goes into making the items on the shelves. I mean really, when was the last time you thought about what went into making your strawberry yogurt the perfect color? Well that’s what Dina Dicks does every day. She works for CHR Hanson in West Allis. The company makes coloring and other food additives. Dina and I met in one of the company lab.
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.