VEDA Accomplishments

In 2021 VEDA enters its fifteenth year of fostering economic development in Vernon County and the surrounding region. Our work focuses on serving as the central point of contact to help businesses start up or expand and create jobs, owning and managing the Food Enterprise Center as it provides the physical infrastructure to help its 24 entrepreneurial tenants succeed and grow, facilitating monthly Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club meetings and organizing numerous other educational events (pre COVID-19).   

VEDA recognizes agriculture as a major economic driver in our region and works to provide coordination infrastructure that supports our farmers and local food businesses by:

  • Assisting the Fifth Season Cooperative to coordinate selling local meat, produce, dairy and value-added products from more than 50 area businesses to institutional and retail markets in the greater Driftless Region, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. 

  • Assisting the Community Hunger Solutions project to source good quality produce and dairy products from more than 40 local farms and deliver it to food pantries and meal sites throughout the region. Over the past year, CHS has provided more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce and dairy products to families in our communities through partnerships with food pantries in Hillsboro, Ontario, Cashton, Readstown, La Farge, Soldiers Grove, Gays Mills, Boscobel, Viroqua, and Westby. This year an additional food pickup site was established at the Food Enterprise Center through a partnership with Hunger Task Force Milwaukee and the Hunger Relief Federation. More than 1,400 families have been served by the Family Food Boxes program distributed on Friday afternoons. 

Our accomplishments include serving more than 700 businesses through one-to-one counseling, which fostered the creation of 15 new businesses and more than 80 jobs. We are proud to have leveraged more than $7 million in grant funding and investments for economic projects in the region, which also helped create more than 175 jobs. Other accomplishments include:

  • Leveraged TIF revenues, a Midwest Disaster Area Bond, grants and private investment to develop the shuttered NCR building as the Food Enterprise Center for multiple businesses to startup and expand, which currently has 24 tenants employing at least 90 people. 

  • Received a Wisconsin Top Rural Development Initiative Award in May 2014 for "demonstrating the spirit of partnership and collaboration in creating positive community impacts." 

  • Assisting members of the village of Ontario with strategic planning and action projects.

  • Hosted 2 midwinter celebrations of local food.

  • Partnered with agencies and services to explore in-home care issues for the elderly and others in need, without duplicating what already exists. 

  • Obtained a $600,000 grant for flood recovery loans to 34 businesses in eight communities: Chaseburg, Hillsboro, La Farge, Ontario, Readstown, Viola, Viroqua and Westby.  Repayments are also adding more than $200,000 to the county revolving loan fund to assist other businesses. 

Plan to attend the next I & E Club meeting on April 10th for help articulating the mission, core values and purpose statements for your business with speaker Jessica Jane Spayde, the Food Entrepreneurship Specialist at UW-Madison Extension. Whether you have an idea or just like to think business, join us for a dynamic evening of networking with lots of creative people. Networking starts at 5:30, the program begins at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome!

Click here for more info on the I&E Club

Quick VEDA Contact Info

Susan Noble
Executive Director, Vernon Economic Development Association
1201 North Main Street,
Suite 6, Viroqua WI 54665