DODGEVILLE— Folklore Village and the Platteville-based Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission are collaborating to host the Delicious Driftless Fare, the first annual local food festival on Oct. 5 at Folklore Village, 3210 Cty Hwy BB in Dodgeville.
This regional event, with a focus on local foods, farmers and their products, is intended to serve as a networking opportunity for anyone interested in the local food chain. Presentations, panel discussions and workshops will provide hands-on learning experiences, highlighting the growing and preparing of local foods in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin.
A one-day event held during harvest season, the Delicious Driftless Fare will feature workshops, panel discussions, art, music and samples from local producers including Queen Bee Honey and Platteville’s Driftless Market. Steven Deller, professor of agricultural and applied economics at UW-Madison, will be the keynote speaker. Deller will speak about understanding the changing dynamics of the local foods economy, and identifying local economic strengths, weaknesses and opportunities at 1 p.m. in Folklore Village’s Farwell Hall. A panel discussion about the regional food economy will follow the keynote.
According to Ricky Rolfsmeyer, executive director of Folklore Village: “We’ve found that Southwest Wisconsin has become a gathering place for artists and food entrepreneurs. Southwest Wisconsin is and has always been an entrepreneurial place. A large percentage of the region’s workforce is self-employed, many in agriculture, and we want to reinforce their importance to the economic well-being of the Driftless Area. Folklore Village is actually the old Farwell farm, so it seemed to be a natural place to celebrate the region’s family farms.”
To support the Delicious Driftless Fare focus, Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin will be sponsoring a movie night at the Mineral Point Opera House, 139 High St., at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4. Admission to the movie will be free, but donations will be accepted. There will be a book sale and signing of “Super Snacks for Super Kids” by Mineral Point’s Dr. Sarah Fox and Julie Stephenson and healthy snacks made from recipes in the book will also be sold with all proceeds supporting the fare. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion led by Kriss Marion of Blanchardville-based Circle M Farms, and a reception at the Gray Dog Deli, 215 High St., featuring local wine and cheese.
The Delicious Driftless Fare is one of four projects selected to receive staff support to implement the goals of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin plan through the Grow Southwest Capacity Building Assistance program. Projects were selected in February, from throughout the region, to contribute to the implementation of goals from across nine topic areas. This festival will address the three Grow Southwest Wisconsin overarching regional priorities:
- Improve regional collaboration, communication and awareness of resources in southwestern Wisconsin;
- Brand and market the unique character and attractions of southwestern Wisconsin;
- Preserve, sustain and manage southwestern Wisconsin’s agricultural and natural resources.
The goal of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin Capacity Building Assistance program is to assist local communities in launching projects that will move the community and region toward achievement of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin goals. For more information on Grow Southwest Wisconsin, see www.growsouthwest.org.