Grant keeps local foods effort going
MILAN — Carol Ford will be able to carry on the work of her late husband and develop a local foods network in the region based on the production of winter greens in passive solar greenhouses.
Ford, of Milan, announced last week that the Bush Leadership Fellowship that had been awarded to Chuck Waibel in 2013 has been converted into a memorial grant to the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership Board.
The grant funds will allow her to start work this month as a part-time project coordinator for the plan mapped out by Waibel. He died Aug. 16 at age 55, only a few months after being diagnosed with colon cancer. He had just been awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship.
He wanted to develop the Deep Winter Producers Association as a model for a local foods organization. It would serve as a center for a local foods hub distribution system for the region, according to Ford.
At a memorial for her husband last autumn, Ford had told those gathered that she was hopeful that there would be a way to continue his work.
She will work in her role as coordinator on a one-fourth time basis and be based at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris. She will also retain her position as administration specialist at the Science and Math Division of the University of Minnesota, Morris.
She will also travel in the region to establish the local foods network. One of her first goals is to host an initial meeting of the Deep Winter Producers Association that her late husband was instrumental in forming.
Ford said she is looking forward to working with very talented people to carry forward the goal.
She and her late husband are known for their work in local foods and their 2009 book, “The Northlands Winter Greenhouse Manual.” It describes how to build affordable, passive solar greenhouses to produce fresh greens for winter consumption in northern latitudes.
The book is based on their own greenhouse and work to establish a community supported agriculture model and market the produce from it.