Donation will go towards heating a revitalized greenhouse
Stevens Point, Wis., Jan. 20, 2015 – New high-efficiency natural gas heaters will soon be installed as part of the Greenhouse Project by the Central Rivers Farmshed, thanks to a $30,000 donation from United FCS, the top provider of agricultural loans in west central Minnesota and central Wisconsin, and AgriBank, its St. Paul, Minn.-based funding bank.
Two greenhouses, totaling 7,000-square-feet, were once the site of a garden center, but fell into disarray from years of vacancy. Farmshed volunteers restored the structure with an aim of converting it into a production facility.
“We believe, as a farmer-owned cooperative, it is important to support local food system initiatives that are inclusive of all aspects of agriculture,” said Marc Knisely, CEO of United FCS. “This project will be a benefit to our members and the people of Central Wisconsin. Local food efforts like this are a great way to educate the public about food production and build successful relationships between producers and consumers.”
“Farmshed is grateful for the support of United FCS and AgriBank to heat the greenhouses at our community food center, located right in the heart of downtown Stevens Point,” said Central Rivers Farmshed Executive Director Layne Cozzolino. “Each passing year, the interest in local foods continues to expand and Farmshed is excited to find partners willing to support models that aid in rebuilding those relationships between communities and producers who are growing their food. Together, we will create opportunities that build upon and strengthen the local food system in Central Wisconsin.”
Future project plans call for a USDA-approved commercial kitchen to be installed. An additional building on the property will house a learning center and gathering space for local producers.
“Over the last few years, hundreds of volunteers have come together to transform this property,” said Bill York, AgriBank CEO. “From home gardeners to large operators, people have always been passionate about growing food and feeding their communities. For nearly 100 years, Farm Credit has shared that passion with our mission to support American agriculture.”
Outside of the new Greenhouse Project, the Farmshed hosts a number of other community agriculture efforts such as a farm-to-school program, sustainable agriculture education events and the annual Local Food Fair.
ABOUT UNITED FCS:
United FCS is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy. Serving over 6,000 customer-members and with over $1.7 billion of assets, United FCS has a primary focus in a 22-county service area in West Central Minnesota and North Central Wisconsin providing loans, leases and a wide array of financial services through 12 branch office locations and 190 locally-based employees. For additional information on United FCS, visit www.unitedfcs.com .
AgriBank is one of the largest banks within the national Farm Credit System, with more than $90 billion in total assets. Under the Farm Credit System’s cooperative structure, AgriBank is owned by 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations. The AgriBank District covers America’s Midwest, a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. More than half of the nation’s cropland is located within the AgriBank District, providing the Bank and its Association owners with exceptional expertise in production agriculture. For more information, visit www.agribank.com.
ABOUT CENTRAL RIVERS FARMSHED:
Central Rivers Farmshed is a 501c3 nonprofit organization representing all aspects of the food system whose members are committed to making Central Wisconsin a renowned, local food community. Farmshed’s mission is to expand the connection between local residents and their food by providing opportunities for participation, education, cooperation, and action to support a local food economy in Central Wisconsin.
United FCS CEO Marc Knisely is joined by Vice President of Community Access Todd Kearney and Regional Vice President Mike Maguire in presenting a $30,000 Farm Credit grant to organizers of the Central Rivers Farmshed in Stevens Point, Wis.
From left to right: Todd Kearney, United FCS; Mike Maguire, United FCS; Marc Knisely, United FCS; Layne Cozzolino, Central Rivers Farmshed; Maria Davis, Nami Moon Farms; Krista Engelhardt, Central Rivers Farmshed.