WASHINGTON ISLAND - Hotel Washington and Studio was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's annual Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant program.
Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin is a competitive grant program that is meant to strengthen Wisconsin's agriculture and food industries by helping farms and businesses process, market and distribute locally grown food products, as well as providing consumers with access to those local foods.
The hotel is using the funds to help it start a shop featuring local products in the Honeymoon House, a small, old building that sat in several different locations on the Island before it was brought to the hotel property by Brian Vandewalle, its previous owner. The shop plans to carry honeys, syrups, produce and other products made on the Island when it opens in about a month, owner Jeannie Kokes said.
Kokes said the grant money specifically will go toward refrigeration units and shelving for the shop, with a portion also to be used to hire a shop manager. She also credited her team of managers and directors at the hotel with putting together the grant proposal.
The state received 60 proposals that requested more than $1.9 million for this year's Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants. From those, it awarded 12 grants totaling $300,000, with individual awards ranging from $8,000 to $31,200. Recipients plan to use the funds for a range of enhancements that include expanded capacity for a community farm, marketing and promotion of local farmers markets and farm stores, and production equipment for local food producers.
Since its inception in 2008, the grant program has awarded a total of $2.6 million to 90 projects across the state. A news release from DATCP said previous grant recipients have generated more than $12.69 million in new local food sales, created and retained more than 285 jobs, and benefited more than 3,800 producers and 4,055 markets.
"We are pleased to offer these grant opportunities, which support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture and help Wisconsin communities gain access to more local foods," DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski said in the release. "The grants help reduce marketing, distribution and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin food products to local purchasers."
Established in 1904, Hotel Washington offers not only lodging and event hosting but also a farm-to-fork restaurant in cooperation with local growers and a yoga studio. For more information, call 920-847-3010 or visit hotelwashingtonandstudio.com.
For more information on Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants, visit the DATCP website at datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Homepage.aspx.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Washington Island hotel wins Buy Local grant for food products shop