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Eating Local Food in Wisconsin

Posted: 10:37AM March 18th, 2015 | Comments

By: Kate Matusinec

While Wisconsin is known for dairy, beer, and extensive farm fields, it may be a surprise to find out just how much food is produced within our state! Buying local food when possible is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and support local businesses and farms. Here are some ways to learn more about how to find products made in Wisconsin.

1.       The Farmers' Market: The summer Farmers' Market takes place every Saturday on the Capitol Square. This year, it will begin again on April 18th. However, many people don’t know that the Farmers' Market lasts all year. In early winter, it is located at the Monona Terrace. Currently, it is being held at the Madison Senior Center. There is also a Wednesday market on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in the summer, so you can stock up on produce mid-week. The market is always held, rain or shine, and is an easy, fun way to support local farms! For more information on dates, times, and locations, check out the Dane County Farmers' Market website


2.       Your Grocery Store: You can actually buy a lot of local products right at a regular grocery store. One way to know if a product is locally produced is to look for the “Something Special from Wisconsin” sticker. Visit their website for a full list of participating grocers. 

There are also many products sold in grocery stores that almost always have an option from Wisconsin. Some examples of these include honey, maple syrup, cheese, milk, and sausage. Additionally, some grocery stores have their own system for identifying local food, and some actually list their local food options on their website.


3.       Local Restaurants, Local Food: You’ll feel less guilty about spending so much money eating out at all of the awesome restaurants in Madison when you realize how many of them make a conscious effort to use local food! Some restaurants advertise this fact and focus their menu on traditional Wisconsin foods, while others simply incorporate Wisconsin products into their menus. Either way, purchasing food from these restaurants helps both local producers and local restaurants, so you can enjoy great food, contribute to the community, and eat more sustainably all at the same time.  The Reap Food Group has a list of restaurants that have committed to serving food sourced from local farms.


Do you think you can commit to buying more local food? Try setting a goal for yourself related to your food consumption. Some examples:

  • Go to the farmer’s market every week and purchase fresh produce
  • If you are deciding between two brands at the grocery store, always choose the local brand, even if it’s a little bit more expensive
  • Cook an entire meal using food from Wisconsin

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