Even more Wisconsin students will benefit this fall from AmeriCorps Farm to School Programs.
Students in a total of 13 counties will learn more this fall about how their food is grown. The AmeriCorps Farm to School program is multi-faceted. It involves healthful meals and snacks, experiencing gardening, and nutritional education.
“We try to take a comprehensive approach to Farm-to-School, incorporating the nutrition education component, which is going to the classrooms with lesson plans and things like that, which involve networking with farmers; and then there’s sort of an engagement portion, which would be incorporating an activity like a school garden so the kids are having that hands-on connection.”
Sarah Larson is AmeriCorps Farm to School Program Manager with the state Ag Department. The program seeks to serve students more locally-produced food while promoting healthier eating and less childhood obesity.
Larson says if kids are involved in the growing process, they’re more likely to eat and enjoy their vegetables. “They’re more likely to eat it, they’ll feel more connected to it. We have some great programs where the kids actually help with cooking the food so that way they’re more apt to try it but also bring it home and request it at home.”
Twenty eight AmeriCorps members will be connecting 39 individual school districts with farms and grocery stores across Wisconsin and get involved in after-school and family-focused events. Funding for AmeriCorps Farm to School is provided by Serve Wisconsin through the Corporation for National and Community Service.
AmeriCorps Farm to School Program has been around since 2008. This is their sixth year in existence in Wisconsin. New sites will be hosted in the following counties: Dunn, Dane (Mount Horeb), Vilas, Richland and Winnebago. Counties continuing to hosts sites include: Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Dane (Madison), Portage, Vernon, Washburn and Waupaca. Full list of participating school districts.