Farm to Fork


CIAS Director Candidate Public Presentation: Randall Jackson

Date: December 13, 2018, 9:15am
Location: Ebling Symposium Center, Microbial Sciences Building, UW-Madison campus

Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers

Date: January 11-13, 2019
Location: UW-Madison campus

Wisconsin Cut Flower Growers School

Date: February 16-17, 2019
Location: UW-Madison campus

more events


The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers: Keeping the Dream of Farming Alive

As older farmers retire, fewer young farmers are stepping in to take their place. The number of beginning farmers dropped 20 percent in the last five-year census period, and the average US farmer now tops 58 years of age. more

CIAS Mini-Grants Support Graduate Student Research in Sustainable Agriculture

CIAS supports innovative graduate student research addressing the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized farms and food businesses. Awarded annually, our competitive mini-grants aid students as they initiate their research in sustainable agriculture and food systems. more

Values-Based Food Supply Chain Case Study: Home Grown Wisconsin Co-op

Posted September 2013

boxes of tomatoes

Home Grown Wisconsin was a cooperative, multi-farm wholesale and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food business founded in 1996 in south central Wisconsin. Home Grown Wisconsin successfully sold fresh produce to upscale restaurants and CSA customers in the Chicago area for more than 10 years. In 2009, after being significantly impacted by floods, a downturn in the economy and mounting overhead costs, the cooperative tried to shift to a 100 percent CSA business model. Unable to subscribe sufficient CSA members in the Chicago area that year, they could not cash flow the enterprise. In the spring of 2009, Home Grown Wisconsin closed its business operations and transferred its assets to a newly formed business that folded after several years of operation. The core farmers of Home Grown Wisconsin continue to farm and market their products, and several of them have been quite successful.

While this case does not provide detailed information about the logistics and economics of Home Grown Wisconsin, it does illustrate some of the opportunities and challenges, internal and external, confronted by a small-scale, farmer-owned marketing cooperative.

Home Grown Wisconsin case study (PDF)
Home Grown Wisconsin Research Brief (PDF)

These publications are part of a series of case studies and Research Briefs examining values-based food supply chains—strategic business alliances formed between primarily midsize farms/ranches and their supply chain partners. Values-based food supply chains distribute significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products and share the rewards equitably. Farmers and ranchers function as strategic partners rather than easily replaced input suppliers. All participants in these business alliances recognize that creating maximum value for the product depends on significant interdependence, collaboration and mutual support. These supply chains attach importance to both the values embedded in the production of the food products AND the values that characterize the business relationships.