On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Governor Jim Doyle announced a pretty sweet gesture in support of the Wisconsin local food movement. Thanks to the state's "Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin" grant program, nine entities across the state are receiving over $220,000 to foster community-oriented agriculture. Among those nine, four are based in Madison, including the Dane County Institutional Food Market Coalition, the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, and the Underground Food Collective.
The press release states that Underground Catering, LLC, will receive "$25,000 to develop artisan meats that will help fill Wisconsin’s need for more pork products." Yes, that's what it actually stated, and I'm not going to argue. My first thought was, ‘ooh, I wonder what kind of bacon-y wonderment will result from that little windfall.’
"We are going to start a meat processing business," explains Jonny Hunter, one of four full-time members of the collective, along with his brother Ben, Kris Noren, and Jon Atwell. Jonny says that the group will continue operating out of its existing near-east side kitchen. But that is only the half of it.