Organic Valley Deepens Local Economic Development Commitment Through Expanded Partnerships With Wisconsin-Based Businesses

La Farge, Wis.
July 13, 2009
Contact P.R. Renee Kelly
work 612-372-6472 La Farge, Wis.

Farmer-owned cooperative invests in 7 Rivers Alliance and Vernon Economic Development Association initiatives

Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, today announced its expanded investment in and commitment to Wisconsin-based 7 Rivers Alliance and Vernon Economic Development Association (VEDA). The cooperative's financial contribution will support a number of initiatives to stimulate and enhance economic development in southwestern Wisconsin.

7 Rivers Alliance is a regional leadership group that boosts economic growth by fostering collaboration in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa. The organization brings together public and private resources to forge entrepreneurial growth. It also serves as a clearinghouse for vital information to enhance quality of life in the region. VEDA's mission is to create economic wealth and prosperity while preserving the Vernon County lifestyle. Among other goals, VEDA supports entrepreneurship and new business development, recruits new business to the county, and fosters the retention and expansion of new businesses.

"Fostering economic stability and enabling growth in rural communities are core to Organic Valley's mission," said Cecil Wright, vice president of sustainability and local operations for Organic Valley. "As we continue to feel the effects of this unstable economy, it is increasingly important to prioritize investments in our community's economic development through groups like 7 Rivers and VEDA, two local champions in this space."

7 Rivers and VEDA are among more than 180 local and regional organizations Organic Valley partners with each year.

For example, Organic Valley is partnering with VEDA and local, non-profit Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) to support VSN's Food and Farm Initiative which aims to encourage the development of a sustainable, local food system in southwest Wisconsin. In addition, the cooperative, in partnership with Western Technical College, Kwik Trip and other major local businesses, will help 7 Rivers Alliance educate businesses on managing health care insurance costs while providing benefits that attract and retain employees.

"A united region fosters successful businesses and flourishing families and individuals. With the right resources and support, 7 Rivers can begin to solve problems and capitalize on opportunities collaboratively as a region," said Terry Whipple, president of 7 Rivers Alliance. "Organic Valley has long been a strong and active partner, and their philosophy of improving the quality of life for people here is a catalyst for the activities the alliance undertakes. It fuels our passion to make a difference."

Organic Valley itself employs 475 people throughout the southwestern Wisconsin region. Maintaining its mission to revitalize the rural communities it serves, Organic Valley has remained in La Farge since its inception more than 20 years ago.

Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative’s farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter, www.twitter.com/organicvalley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Valley/20674850824.

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Renee Kelly
Phone: 612-372-6472
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