Our commitment to our customers extends beyond providing reliable financial services. Like our members, our roots run deep and we take pride in giving back by providing ongoing support to the local communities where we work, play and live. Two of GreenStone’s Four Core Values include Get Involved and Doing the Right Thing, something our employees take pride in upholding. Through our local branches and association-wide efforts, we contribute time and resources to a variety of organizations aligned with our four target focus areas: Agriculture Advocacy; Young, Beginning and Small Farmers; Youth Education; and Rural Community Engagement.
Check out just a few ways we supported our local communities and the agriculture industry throughout 2021.
Agriculture Advocacy: Wisconsin Peninsula Pride Farms
What began as a collaboration of a few local farmers and businesses with a similar goal of improving the water quality in Kewaunee and southern Door County in Wisconsin, is now a promise to the community to better protect and care for the environment - also known as Peninsula Pride Farms.
One of Peninsula Pride Farms’ more recent focus areas is the Sustainability Project, an effort to measure on-farm sustainability by gathering quantifiable conservation performance efforts in eight sustainability areas of impact. Aggregate results will help determine future actions as well as to communicate the environmental benefits of the group’s efforts in the local community. Farmers are stewards of the land, and initiatives like those of Peninsula Pride Farms provide the collaborative, science-based initiatives to continue those efforts. GreenStone supports these voluntary efforts and is proud to help Peninsula Pride Farmers and its members positively impact the future!
Young, Beginning and Small Farmer: Michigan Good Food Fund
Aligning with our ongoing mission of supporting the next generation of agriculture, GreenStone is proud to continue its partnership with Michigan Good Food Fund to connect urban, young, beginning, and small farmers with valuable resources and funding to help them overcome their challenges. Focused on equipping food entrepreneurs and producers with tools necessary to fulfill their goals of providing healthy food options for the local community, in 2021 GreenStone and Michigan Good Food Fund teamed up to offer a free, four-month webinar series tailored to small businesses. Of note was a Loan Preparation for New and Beginning Farmers webinar hosted by GreenStone, providing details on the lending process, how to achieve sustainable growth and an opportunity to connect with lenders.
Through partnerships like this, GreenStone looks forward to assisting more producers and food entrepreneurs through its new CultivateGrowth program directed to the diverse needs of young, beginning and small farmers!
Youth Education and Agriculture Awareness: Project R.E.D - Rural Education Days
Focused on inspiring future generations about the importance of agriculture to help develop industry leaders and bring greater appreciation to our agricultural community, GreenStone focuses on supporting educational programs, volunteer efforts, and organizations with like-minded missions, such as Farm Bureau’s Project R.E.D. (Rural Education Days).
Once again during this past year’s Project R.E.D., fourth-grade students were able to learn hands-on the importance of the agriculture industry and the valuable role it plays right from local farmers.
GreenStone is proud to help students understand agriculture topics in a fun-filled, hands-on, learning environment. From livestock such as cattle, pigs and dairy, even rabbits and bees, to crops like sugar beets, wheat, corn, and soybeans, students learn the diverse aspects of farming practices and food production!
Rural Community Engagement: Member Grown Outreach
Committed to our local rural communities and the 27,000 members we serve, GreenStone engages both members and employees in the cooperative’s outreach and engagement efforts. Among those is the annual Member Grown Outreach program where local organizations making positive impacts in their communities receive a total of $20,000 in support from GreenStone based on members’ votes during Patronage Week.
In 2021, the Father Fred Foundation, located in Traverse City, Michigan, earned $10,000 toward their mission of striving to bring hope to and enrich the lives of the community members seeking help, from food and clothing to home essentials and utilities. The F.R.E.S.H Project, serving northeast Wisconsin, was awarded $6,000 to contribute to their goal of bringing nutritional and fresh produce to their local communities while supporting their local farmers. The remaining $4,000 was given to the Macomb Charitable Foundation to help them fulfill their mission of serving children who are living at or below the poverty level in Macomb County, Michigan, by providing goods, services and support.