In an effort to support the local food system and increase the availability of local products, the Chequamegon Food Co-op offers biannual, no interest micro-loans. Since 2008, we have awarded over $250,000 in micro-loans to qualified local food & goods producers. These small, no interest loans are capped at $5,000 and have up to a 3-year payback period.
Interested in Applying?
Proposals for the spring cycle are due by March 1, 2023 with funding decisions made by March 15. Proposals for the fall cycle are due by Saturday October 1, 2022 with funding decisions made by October 20. Download the micro-loan application.
We encourage pairing the micro-loan with our Chip in for the Kitchen grant fund. The grant program offers matching 50/50 funds to help local producers gain access to commercial kitchens. The goal of the grant is to help fill holes in our local foods system. We have so many wonderful local farmers and producers, but there are still many items that cannot be bought locally.
To learn more about the Chequamegon Food Co-op micro-loan program, please contact Sara Beadle, Marketing & Member Services Manager.
Read About our Fall 2022 Recipients
Three local producers received micro-loans totaling $12,000 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farm projects through the winter and into spring. Micro-loan recipients for the Spring 2022 loan cycle are as follows:
- Suri Fina Alpaca Farm, owned by Abigail Klema. The awarded micro-loan funds will be going toward building and insulating a room for growing micro-greens. Abigail is purchasing Great Oak Farm’s micro-green operation, as Chris Duke moves on to other ventures. Abigail will fill Chris’s current market and increase customer base with her own farm’s spring CSA and farm store.
- Seeds of Wellbeing, owned by Erica Macrum. Erica is opening an apothecary downtown Washburn and is using funds to build a commercial kitchen. The apothecary will help support local herbalists in getting their products to the public. Specifically, the kitchen will allow Erica and other herbalists to legally package their products for wholesale.
- Angel Acres Farm, owned by the McCutchen family. They will be using funds to purchase certified organic hay. They raise cattle to produce grass-fed organic beef for the Chequamegon Bay.
Read About our Spring 2022 Recipients
Four local producers received micro-loans totaling $15,200 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farm projects through the winter and into spring. Micro-loan recipients for the Spring 2022 loan cycle are as follows:
- Melanie Dunn, owner of Southshore Botanicals in Herbster, WI, will be getting wood to build a base for a greenhouse. Melanie’s business focuses on growing native plant communities. She sells bouquets at farmers markets and offers landscaping and gardening consultations.
- Lauren Schuppe, owner of Farmhouse Madeline Island in La Pointe, WI, has been slowly building wholesale products into the business. A dough sheeter and packaging materials will be bought to increase pizza creation allowing for resale around the Chequamegon Bay.
- Anderson Podschun, owner of Du Nord Meat Company in Herbster, WI, is purchasing a squeeze chute, materials for a corral, and a sausage stuffer. Anderson is a third-generation butcher who raises his own grass-fed yaks, pastured pork, and pastured poultry. He also has created an all locally sourced original sausage recipe.
- Mary Pearson, owner of Silver Sage Farm and Flowers in Port Wing, WI, will be installing new film including inflation fans and roll-up sides to two green houses. She will also be adding ventilation to her starter green house and making repairs on greenhouse heaters.
Read About our Fall 2021 Recipients
Five local producers received micro-loans totaling $15,200 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farm projects through the winter and into spring. Micro-loan recipients for the Fall 2021 loan cycle are as follows:
- Owners Rusty and Daisy Defoe of Birds N’ Things farm in Ashland, WI will be purchasing equipment to help create value added goods with their family farm raised products. They would like to start roasting peppers and tomatoes, and drying herbs.
- Monarda Thrasher of Bayfield WI has been drying herbs for over 10 seasons and will be building a mobile herb drying shed. This will allow Monarda to scale up the project and will be able to dry up to 1000 pounds of herbs.
- Owner Ben Cogger of Observation Hill Farm in Duluth, MN will be purchasing a front-end loader for their farm tractor. This will allow ease in moving soiling, transporting heavy equipment, clearing snow, and more. Find their honey at the co-op!
- Owner Erica Macrum of Seeds of Wellbeing in Washburn, WI will be purchasing a tincture press that will enable her to be more efficient by extracting up to 40% more from her herbs. This will also create less waste while making her wellness products which you can find at the co-op!
- Owner Jerry Moore of One Drum Solutions in Ashland, WI will be purchasing a solar well pump, battery banks, and filtration system. These will be used for revitalizing and irrigating an herb garden. This system will also increase the health of their pond by providing oxygen and circulation.
Read About our Spring 2021 Recipients
Four local producers will receive micro-loans totaling $13,070 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farm projects this summer. Micro-loan recipients for the Spring 2021 loan cycle are as follows:
- Owner Stan Ford of Two Creeks Farm in Marengo, Wis. will purchase a three-point round bale unroller to better utilize left-over hay.
- Owners Carly and Tyler Stephenson of Will O’ the Winds Farm in Washburn, Wis. will build a pole shed to increase the production and grow from seasonally raising feeder pigs on pasture to breeding and raising pigs year-round.
- Owner Eileen McCutchen of Angel Acres Farm in Mason, Wis. will purchase local certified organic hay.
- Owner Ryan Padrutt of ThroughDirt Farm in Washburn, Wis. will be purchase materials to build deer-proof fencing.
Read About our Fall 2020 Recipients
The fall micro-loans totaled $12,700. These three local producers are excited to expand their businesses with the support of the co-op.
- Sonia and Adam Horowitz, owners of Amanita Acres will be renovating their fiber studio and improving their wool processing equipment. This will allow more efficiency to process and produce their products. The farm raises Icelandic sheep, angora goats, and angora rabbits for wool. The Horowitzs sell their products at farmers markets, events, and online.
- Jonathan Walburg is a potter from Washburn, WI who plans to build a small studio that will house a wood fired kiln at his home along Highway 13. He plans to eventually have a destination where people can see where pots are made, experience the fire, and take a piece of this area home. Jonathan focuses uses beach sand from Lake Superior to decorate his functional pottery.
- Clare Hintz, owner of Elsewhere Farm in Herbster, WI will be using her loan to purchase a high-tunnel in order to extend growing season on the farm. Clare’s produce goes to her year-round CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that supplies up to 30 families with food during the summer, and 13 families during winter.
Read About our Spring 2020 Recipients
Three local producers will receive micro-loans totaling $13,520 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farm projects this summer. These small, no-interest loans are capped at $5,000 and have a 3-year payback period. Micro-loan recipients for the Spring 2020 loan cycle are as follows:
- Owner John Adams of Yoman Farm in Washburn, Wis. will put microloan funds toward a 30-acre purchase and a hydraulic pump replacement for his Allis Chalmers tractor.
- Owners Brigid Reina and Jake Williams of Washburn, Wis. will use the funds for startup costs for their new ecological land restoration business, Regenerative Ruminants, where a small “flerd” of goats and sheep will be rented out to private and public landowners.
- Owner Stan Ford of Two Creeks Farm in Marengo, Wis. will purchase organic fertilizers to enhance the PH in his soil in order to yield better hay crops for local beef farmers and also to diversify his crops with planting soft fruits.
Read About our Fall 2019 Recipients
Three local producers will receive micro-loans totaling $6,500 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with local producer projects this winter. Micro-loan recipients for the fall 2019 loan cycle are as follows:
- Owner Kathleen Presnell of Starlit Kitchen in Bayfield, Wis. will purchase local artist design of a new logo, new labels and eco-packaging for her vegan baked goods.
- Owner Victoria Peters of Copper Pasty in Ashland, Wis. will purchase kitchen equipment to make the cooking and preparation process run more efficiently.
- Owner Audrey Joyner of Rainsong Creations in Bayfield, Wis. will purchase a bulk roll of fabric to create her popular baby toy Sogg E. Bears.
Spring 2019 Recipients
Three local farmers will receive micro-loans totaling over $10,000 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with farming related projects this spring. These small, no interest loans are capped at $5,000 and have a 3-year payback period. Micro-loan recipients in the spring 2019 loan cycle were as follows:
- Owners Tom Galazen and Ann Rosenquist of North Wind Organic Farm in Bayfield, Wis. will purchase a battery for their solar-powered tractor.
- Owner Gil Schwartz of Seasonally Sourced in Ashland, Wis. will purchase seed starting equipment, livestock, fencing, and tools.
- Owner Eileen McCutchen of Angel Acres Farm in Mason, Wis. will purchase certified organic hay to feed beef, lamb, and sheep.