Antigo Child Care Center
The Antigo Child Center was established by a mom who had lost daycare necessary for her employment. Working with the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation, Antigo Housing Authority, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Childcaring, the building was secured and renovated. A community-supported Go Fund Me campaign helped purchase playground equipment and supplies.
A serious issue for childcare programs is the long-term financial sustainability of the business. The Center addressed this problem by putting together a Tiered Partnership agreement with employers. Businesses support the Center with a monthly stipend, providing discounts to partner employers’ workers, as well as some funds for staffing/attraction of childcare workers, a farm to table nutrition program, and savings for future school-age programs and Center expansion.
The Center is at full capacity is currently considering expansion.
The Meadows in Darlington
The Meadows is a new affordable housing community designed to support farm workers. A collaboration of Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP), USDA-Rural Development, Cinnaire Solutions, Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Wisconsin Department of Administration and United Migrant Opportunity Services resulted in construction of a 32-unit complex dedicated to agricultural employees. Utilizing CDBG funding, an adjacent community building is being built with space for childcare, a free health clinic, and a WIC nutrition program to support Meadow residents and their families.
The agricultural industry provides more than half of the jobs in Lafayette County. This initiative provides needed workforce housing and employee services to support the area economy.
UW-Eau Claire Small Business Clinics
UW-Eau Claire Small Business Clinics are an in-person rural outreach initiative developed and run by student consultants at the Small Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire. The Clinics provide one-on-one technical assistance and resources to Wisconsin rural business owners. Clinic topics include QuickBooks, finance, marketing, general business startup, legal and cybersecurity, among others. Two clinics were held in Rice Lake and Abbotsford in 2022 and served 52 clients. Additional clinics are being planned in nearby counties in 2023.
This project provides rural economic development outreach, as well as providing student training and business experience.
Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC)
Wisconsin Women in Conservation is a collaborative project that established a community of women landowners/farmers in the state interested in land stewardship. Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Renewing the Countryside, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Marbleseed, and USDA-NRCS Wisconsin partnered to create WiWiC. Utilizing the “learning circle” model, the organization provides a safe space to share, connect, learn and network among women peers. Technical and resource support is provided. WiWiC has developed a Listserv, e-newsletter, and numerous webinars for its members. Since its inception in 2020, more than 2000 women have engaged in program elements.
The organization’s goal is development of individual land conservation plans by the women. To date, 44 conservation plans have been completed and 60 are in the pipeline. The organization has positive impacts on women empowerment, agricultural economic development, tourism, and the rural ecosystem.