Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Swinging Emotions

I don't know what it is, but a little bit of sunshine one day can surely change a person's mind set. Yesterday I was really depressed for no known reason and ready to throw in the hat with working on getting our Local Food Guide off the ground this year (our grant money ran out last year), and when I woke up this morning, I was raring to fly with it. I actually did spend all day today working on the Guide and my garden. Speaking of which, here is a pic of the high tunnel layout for this year:

Despite calling throughout the entire day to the Eau Claire office of DATCP (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection), I never did get through to a person (the line was always busy) and when I tried calling Madison, all I got there was automated list after list of agencies and numbers to press to leave a message for a call-back. I don't think anybody works in government any more. I was completely disgusted. I spent hours trying to find the information I was looking for (what I needed to do in order to legally sell vegetables and eggs to grocery stores or at the farmers market) on what I think is a miserable web site. I did eventually find most of what I was looking for on my own.

In order to sell eggs at a farmers market or a retail store I need to get a "Food Processing Plant License". (I don't need a license if I sell direct to customers from my farm.) Eggs must be clean and kept in a cooler at a constant temperature of 41F. What I still need to find out is what goes on the label, and for that I have to find Wis Administrative Code Chap. 88.08, which I'll do tomorrow when I try to find out where to get the license and how much that is going to put me back.

I am using Google documents to great effect. I really like it even though for some reason there seems to be a delay in formatting changes. I finished a Producer Listing form for the Local Food Guide that I will present to our group at the Feb. 5th meeting, and if it is ok'd by the majority, I'll upload it to the Web and people can download it as a .pdf file, fill it out, and mail it to me along with their fee (right now I'm thinking $25 will do, but I need to get some estimates from a couple of printers for what 1,000 copies will cost to print -- and that will depend on our final format, which I've been struggling with off and on all winter). Tomorrow I will work on a news article for publishing in various local papers as soon as possible to solicit interest in the Guide. I will have to find out how to solicit businesses to place an ad in the Guide. I have no idea what to charge for different sized ads. I also need to talk to Tom at the bank about setting up a checking account to handle the money. Some times I wish I could find someone that would be interested in forming a non-profit corporation with me, but on the other hand, I really want our group to pay its way and be a model for other groups. It will all work out eventually.

Speaking of Google, have you seen their "Sites" application? I may use that for something I have cooking in the back of my mind!

Well, it's getting late so I'll leave off for now. Talk to you soon!

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