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a.MKE The List: Fondy's Farmers Market Competes in Nationwide Competition & Growing Power Teams Up with City's Housing Authority: Today's Top Stories

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice has created a new consumer protection and antitrust unit. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said that this move will “enhance the roles we play”. The unit will deal with mortgage-related complaints and other consumer protection matters. Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws prohibit unfair and deceptive business practices within advertising, sales, telemarketing, debt collection, and other areas.

With a week before Wisconsin’s recall election, Governor Scott Walker announced that his campaign raised more than $13 million within three months to fight the recall bid against him. Walker’s campaign says that the money came from roughly 126,000 contributions. Following behind Walker is Democratic rival Kathleen Falk who raised over $1 million since January. Also Democratic opponent Tom Barrett who announced just last week that he raised $750,000. The recall primary is Tuesday, May 8th.

The Shops of Grand Avenue Mall recently landed its first “Pop-Up” store. The new store is called “Flagship” – it’s a women’s apparel and accessories store and it will also feature a beauty bar. Now just last week, the manager of Grand Avenue held an open house for interested artists, designers and craft vendors to share space collectively. The mall’s goal is to attract tenants to the nine remaining vacant spaces in the western portion of the mall. The pop-up store initiative targets creative and entrepreneurial groups so they not only sell their craft but can also work on their craft.

Fondy Food Center is one of 100 nonprofits taking part in a nationwide competition to win a free organic fruit orchard. The nonprofits with the most online votes will receive 20 fruit trees, shrubs, an irrigation system and training in organic fruit production. If Fondy is one of the top vote-getters, it would plant the trees at its Port Washington farm and then sell the fruit at the Fondy Farmers Market. The competition is sponsored by Edy’s Fruit Bars Communities “Take Root Program”. Voting is allowed once per day and the contest runs through August 30th.

Growing Power is teaming up with Milwaukee’s Housing Authority to create 30,000 square feet of community vegetable gardens as part of the redevelopment of the state’s largest public housing project. The gardens will improve access to fresh food in the neighborhood and improve nutrition and health education. Garden plots will be located on the housing authority property, along Lincoln Creek and in the northwest side neighborhood. Under the new partnership, Growing Power will manage the gardens and provide training and education on food production and will recruit residents for employment and job training.

The food-buying club known as “SHARE” is shutting down after 27 years. According to a statement at the SHARE Wisconsin website, rising prices and changes in market forces made it “impossible for us to cover our overhead expenses.” The Wisconsin branch has about 8,000 member-households who picked up food from almost 200 sites across the state. SHARE members are able to place final orders all this week up until 9 p.m. on Sunday, the 6th. SHARE will also hold a final warehouse inventory sale from 9 to 11 this Saturday at its headquarters in Butler.