A small loan enables an agency to provide real-world job skills training to people with disabilities while producing healthy food for the surrounding community.
Opportunity Center in Prairie du Chien, WI is a 50-year-old nonprofit that provides real-work employment opportunities, skill development training and socialization/communication activities to clients with disabilities. The produce and tilapia produced by Opportunity Center are harvested and sold at local, small organic grocers, farmers markets, and farm-to-school programs. The Opportunity Center has been promoting locally-grown produce for several years, including managing the local farmer’s market for many years before it became a vendor-run market. The Opportunity Center wants to create a community that feeds itself not only with food but economically as well. They needed to expand production to fulfill their mission.
FCI made a loan of $89,700 to Opportunity Center to build a 2,880 sq. ft. greenhouse and a 1,080 sq. ft. fish house addition for their aquaponics farm, to be added to their existing 1,600 sq. ft. aquaponics greenhouse in order to expand production to meet market demands.
These new structures are allowing them to expand those operations, creating more jobs, more opportunities for skills development, and providing more healthy food for surrounding communities.
The Opportunity Center provides services to 102 adults with disabilities on a yearly basis. While the Opportunity Center provides many jobs in their manufacturing facility, the expansion of their food production programs will provide many more opportunities for jobs and training that are fully integrated into the community.
Learn more about the Opportunity Center in Prairie du Chien.