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Wisconsin's Farm-to-School Programs Connect Students to Our Land and Food Systems

Monday, October 3, 2022

The Farm-to-School movement helps connect our amazing school students to growing delicious food and being good stewards to our land. As we move deeper into fall, a time of harvest, bounty, and change, it makes sense that we celebrate October as National Farm-to-School month. It is a time when we are all more attuned to the cycles of nature, to storing and conserving summer's last bounty, while taking care to put the land to rest for the long Wisconsin winter.

In Wisconsin, we have so many stories to celebrate. As the Interim Program Director of our state's AmeriCorps Farm-to-School program, I hear stories every day from folks serving their communities in every corner of the state. In La Farge, children are learning about nutrition through music, connecting their ears to their taste buds. In Bayfield, students learn the traditional ricing practices of the Anishinaabe people by collecting Manoomin, and learning how to process it. In the Howard-Suamico School District, kids have harvested over 300 pounds of food from their school gardens this week, picking everything from blackberries to summer squash. These kids are building their own stories around the foods they eat, while learning how to interact with food, farmers, and the soil at their feet in a fun, healthful way.

There are so many ways to celebrate Farm-to-School, in October (or any month!) and create stories of your own. The first is to find a local program to volunteer for. AmeriCorps members can always use help tending the school garden or conducting nutrition lessons! Beyond AmeriCorps, many schools have their own Farm-to-School program or are looking to start one. Join in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch on October 13th to enjoy Wisconsin’s delicious variety of apples. Visit the National Farm-to-School Network’s web page, go to the Celebration Toolkit and find resources to match your needs.

Happy National Farm-to-School Month everyone!

This item was submitted by Gene Whipple, Interim AmeriCorps Farm to School Program Director, School Nutrition Team, Wisconsin DPI.