Virtual sales to assist local farmers goes live on Facebook

Event also raising money for the FRESH Project
Tim Ryan

SHAWANO — A Facebook page aimed at supporting local farmers and raising money for the FRESH Project was set to go live Saturday, and will offer online purchases of Shawano County dairy and farm products.

The virtual farmers’ marketplace is an extension of the “Shop Local Shawano County” Facebook page started by Nitta Charnon, finance director for Shawano County, in response to business closings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Charnon has held two virtual sales events for local businesses so far, with six businesses participating in the first and 19 in the second.

The events allow businesses to promote and sell their goods online and make them available via curbside pickup or delivery.

“It’s been going good,” Charnon said. “We had a really nice response.”

Charnon said additional businesses have contacted her wishing to participate in the next virtual event, which is not yet scheduled.

She has been focusing in the meantime on the partnership with the FRESH Project.

Virtual sales is an idea not expected to go away even after the pandemic passes and stores are fully opened.

“I honestly think with everything that’s happened, I don’t see the virtual events going away,” Charnon said. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback that people like it. I think it’s just an added benefit to the businesses.”

The FRESH Project fundraiser will sell Wisconsin milk from Charlie’s County Market and locally produced cheese, eggs, honey, beef sticks and maple syrup.

Businesses supplying the local products include Belle Plaine Cheese, 5 D Ranch, Pingel’s Meat Processing, Sweet Timber Maple, Milo’s Poultry and Keune Farms.

Charnon said she wanted to not only support local farmers but provide assistance to the FRESH Project as well.

“They do a lot of community work. They’re doing a lot of education. They do community gardens, provide meals to those who are low-income or less fortunate,” Charnon said.

She said the food needs caused by the pandemic and its closures have stretched the FRESH Project’s resources.

“They’re really struggling through all of this,” Charnon said.

The Facebook event will run through June 7.

The page can be found at

Customers will be able to pick up their purchases at the Shawano County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 13.

“I think it’s very important for people to buy local,” Charnon said. “It really helps our businesses here in the county and keeps people employed here. It help with taxes. If we bring in sales tax and keep the sales tax here in our county. That helps keep our taxes lower as well.”