With supply chain gaps occurring across the nation, Wisconsin school districts may be dealing with food service challenges. In addition to sourcing products from local producers through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s AmeriCorps Farm to School team’s innovative resource, school gardens have proven to be another excellent way to bridge any gaps.
Last year, the Bayfield School District served cucumbers that their students grew in the school’s garden last year for lunch. In the Howard Suamico School District, students were served spinach, kale, lettuce, and green beans...all of which were grown on school grounds!
The DPI’s School Nutrition team is also working to increase the number of school gardens at Wisconsin schools. The school nutrition team was recently awarded a FY 2021 USDA Farm to School grant for the project, “Lifecycle of Farm to School.” Project goals include expanding school nutrition professionals’ F2S teams, providing opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring, equitably supporting F2S activities across Wisconsin, and sustaining F2S efforts. The focus is eight experiential workshops, highlighting stages of a school garden over the span of a year, including video recordings of all workshops to increase access and overall project reach. The workshops will teach school nutrition professionals the key aspects of successfully maintaining a school garden. At each workshop, the school nutrition team plans to connect seasoned school nutrition professionals to those who are new to F2S, creating opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and establishing mentoring relationships. Key grant partners include the DPI’s Communications team, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection, Nourish Farms, REAP Food Group, Rooted, the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, and champion school districts in Farm to School efforts.
If you are currently dealing with supply chain issues, please contact the DPI School Nutrition Team (email@example.com). For technical assistance for working with producers and new supply chain partners, email April Yancer, (firstname.lastname@example.org).