Knowing Your Roots

The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) is working on expanding in-state sales and recognition of Healthy Grown potatoes – certified as  ecologically grown, socially responsible,  and ecosystem friendly – and they taste great – what a bargain!

This promotion was made possible thanks to a grant awarded from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection agency’s “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” program.

This grant is helping the WPVGA publicize the Wisconsin Healthy Grown program and feature its ecologically grown fresh potatoes, which have put Wisconsin on the leading edge of sustainable potato production.

The Wisconsin Healthy Grown program started in 2000 with a strictly enforced, research-based production standard that differentiated these potatoes from others in the marketplace by its reliance on biologically-based approaches to managing pests. It has since expanded to encompass all aspects of sustainability, including environmentally sound production practices, a fair economic return to growers, social responsibility in the rural communities where the potatoes are grown and, most recently, a requirement to restore natural ecosystems on farms.   

The promotion has three main goals over the course of the next year, namely, to expand the distribution of Healthy Grown growers in the state, to increase the number of acres that can display the coveted Healthy Grown banner and to increase sales by bringing these great potatoes to more local communities across the state.

With the help of grower to grower mentoring, the first two goals of adding new Healthy Grown farms in new communities and growing and certifying more acres have already been achieved!  In 2015, the program added new growers from the Central Sands region to have nine total growers participating (a 66% increase) in this high-bar effort, increasing acreage to over 8500 acers certified!

This fall, these additional acres are being added to the marketplace so that consumers can enjoy these value-added potatoes.  The program is now focusing on bringing more of these unique Healthy Grown potatoes to markets near you and expanding sales in local communities across the state.

In preparation for the Thanksgiving and December holidays, when everyone loves to savor those delicious potatoes, the growers are ramping up in-store promotions in markets across the state, by featuring stand-alone displays full of Healthy Grown potatoes with tags and labels extolling the benefits of this great produce.

Several new retailers are coming on board, including Kwik Trip, Piggly Wiggly and Roundy’s stores, while other retailers are expressing interest and want to learn more. It’s time to look for the displays and maybe you will be lucky enough to chat with one of the Healthy Grown growers during the in-store events!

So, stop by one of these local events and promotions to learn about Wisconsin’s Healthy Grown program and sample a locally grown product that is unique to Wisconsin. If you can’t find them in your local market, ask the produce manager if they can stock them and support your local Wisconsin growers!

For more information on our commitment to sustainable agriculture, visit http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/healthy-grown/. To find the next retail store visit promoting Heatlhy Grown that includes the Wisconsin Spudmobile, visit http://wisconsinspudmobile.com/spudmobile-events, or contact Dana Rady at drady@wisconsinpotatoes.com.

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