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MADISON, WI – REAP Food Group and graphic designer Emily Julka were awarded a $22,276 grant from the Ideas that Matter Program to create complementary resources to the Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas aimed at reaching families that face historical and institutional barriers to fresh food. The Farm Fresh Atlas, which began as a regional guide in southern Wisconsin, is a network of six regional print editions and an online statewide collaborative resource to find farm-fresh foods wherever you go. The Farm Fresh Atlas makes it easy to buy directly from the farmers, farmers markets, retail shops and restaurants that feature farm-fresh selections in Wisconsin. With the support of the Sappi Ideas that Matter Grant Program, REAP Food Group and graphic designer Emily Julka will lead the statewide Farm Fresh Atlas Network as they launch a new resource campaign. ‘Growing Healthy Together' will provide information in English and Spanish aimed at reducing health inequities of Wisconsin residents. “Latinx families face institutional and historical barriers to fresh seasonal, healthy food and are disproportionately impacted by chronic disease,” says Helen Sarakinos, REAP Food Group Executive Director. “A bilingual, culturally-relevant resource that will focus on affordability and sustainability of seasonal Wisconsin-grown food is a small step to make information and fresh healthy food more accessible.” Targeted outreach will include agencies and offices that connect residents to food assistance programs including WIC, SNAP and Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, fruit and vegetable incentive programs including Double Dollars programs, and fruit and vegetable prescriptions. “The heart of this campaign is to strengthen connections between eaters and those who grow their food, and celebrate eating local as an act of community building and wellness for all Wisconsinites,” continued Sarakinos. “I’m delighted SAPPI has awarded us funding to get this project off the ground -  as a designer, I’m thrilled to see issues of public health, food equity and accessibility being prioritized and highlighted as areas that deserve quality design,” says Julka. Ideas that Matter supports graphic designers who partner with organizations to make a difference through creative design solutions. Over the past 20 years, they have awarded $13 million in grants to assist more than 500 causes and charities. ***Farm Fresh Atlas is a trademark of REAP Food Group, Inc., used with permission by grassroots coalitions throughout Wisconsin to produce: Farm Fresh Atlas of Eastern Wisconsin, Western Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas, Farm Fresh Atlas of Southeastern Wisconsin, Southern Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas, and Central Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas. The Farm Fresh Atlas was created in 2002 by REAP Food Group, a nonprofit located in Madison, Wisconsin, to promote sustainable, local food producers in southern Wisconsin. ...

MADISON, Wisconsin — Local nonprofits Roots4Change Cooperative (R4C) and REAP Food Group (REAP) have been awarded a 4-year, $400,000 grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program for their project “ROOTed to REAP: Latinx/Indigenous Women Advancing Health and Food Equity in Dane County.” This grant advances an innovative collaboration between REAP, committed to making good food grown well accessible to all, and R4C, a cooperative led by Latina and Indigenous women, to advance health equity by working with the food and health care systems to address individual and collective health and well-being in a holistic, culturally-aligned way. The work of R4C and REAP is built on a foundational belief that food systems and healthcare systems are inextricably linked and treating them as separate entities has had serious consequences for well-being. “Our project aims to bring the right people to the table to ask how this can be changed to improve health outcomes for Latinx families, who have been disproportionately impacted by this history,” says REAP Executive Director Helen Sarakinos. Our organizations will use our collective strengths to make change happen: R4C brings committed community action, targeted program development, policy change, and cultural centeredness. Equally important, REAP brings food system development, technical and educational support, deep connections to sustainable agriculture, and opportunities to create change inside K-12 schools and related systems. Together, we dream of creating hospitable and thriving ecosystems with our Latinx/Ingenous families. According to Mariela Quesada Centeno, R4C coordinator and Centro Hispano community-based research fellow, “This partnership will use a community-led process to enhance learning in the Latino community, not of colonized knowledge, but rather of native and traditional wisdom and to shape change in our healthcare and education institutions, in how they incorporate this learning to respond to Latinx populations around health and food equity.” ...

EDIBLE MADISON MAGAZINE - If you ask what it would take for REAP Food Group to close the door on its two-plus decades of work in the local food movement, this is what you’ll get. “When the day comes that the food that fuels us improves our well-being, sustains and protects our land and water, and the money from it gets reinvested in our local economy, then our work here will be done,” said Helen Sarakinos, REAP Food Group’s executive director. READ MORE....

After two years of conversations and planning with local farmers, institutions and stakeholders, REAP's answer to getting more fresh, local produce into institutions that feed and care for all residents is off the ground. On Monday, July 15, six employees arrived at the Madison College culinary arts kitchen for their first day washing, chopping and bagging local cauliflower and broccoli for REAP's vegetable processing initiative. The initiative has brought together some of Madison's largest institutions - UW Health, UW Dining and the Madison Metropolitan School District - to increase the amount of local, sustainably-grown produce purchased from Wisconsin farms and served to those who use these institutions. It addresses one of the biggest barriers local farmers face in supplying produce to large-scale buyers. "Small farms in Wisconsin lack the capacity to wash, chop and bag fresh, local produce to supply institutional buyers," said Brianna Fiene, REAP's Farm to Business Director.  "Likewise, anchor institutions like hospitals, universities and schools also lack the capacity to process fresh, locally grown produce. They are limited to purchasing pre-processed items from outside of the state while our own Wisconsin farmers struggle to establish local markets." REAP's pilot project will bridge that gap by sourcing, washing, chopping and bagging fresh, local produce to supply to these institutions in Madison. Partner institutions have committed to purchasing more than $100,000 worth of value-added produce from the project in its first year. REAP is working with grower cooperatives representing more than 75 sustainable family farms in Wisconsin. "This project will benefit our community in two big ways:  by creating significant markets for Wisconsin family farms and by increasing access to good food for community, including some of our most vulnerable residents - children and the infirm," Fiene said. "Because of the volume of food these institutions order and serve every week, they have so much buying power that they have the ability to move the needle significantly on local purchasing." The project was made possible in part thanks to donations made to REAP's Big Share 2019 campaign, which raised $10,000 in March to launch the pilot....

Madison, Wis (WMTV) -- A free summer food program kicked off today at Aldo Leopold Park. The goal is to make sure no child goes hungry this summer. About sixty kids received a free meal at the park. The city of Madison, REAP Food Group, Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), Public Health Madison & Dane County are partnering to address food insecurity. The children’s free summer food program provides nutritious meals to all children 18 and under and their families. REAP Food Group and MMSD will be serving meals and providing farm-to-school activities throughout the summer at nearly three dozen sites citywide. WATCH THE SEGMENT HERE...

The Farm Fresh Atlas™ of Southern Wisconsin lists farms, businesses, organizations, restaurants, and farmers' markets that sell food directly to customers. It's your link to great-tasting food grown close to home! There are three ways to access the Farm Fresh Atlas™ of Southern Wisconsin: Online at farmfreshatlas.org View and/or download the print version by clicking here Find a copy of the print version at one of the sites listed below   Find the Farm Fresh Atlas here: Willy Street Co-op North Willy Street Co-op East Willy Street Co-op West Metcalfe's - Hilldale Metcalfe's - West Memorial Union REAP Food Group Viroqua Food Co-op Public Libraries in the following systems: Southern WI Library System Arrowhead Library System Winding Rivers Library System Southwest Public Library System...

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- As the school year is ending, many kids who depend on free or reduced price meals at school might soon be without a meal. The Madison Metropolitan School District is trying to fill that gap with their Summer Food Program. Starting Monday, June 24, kids can eat up to two meals for free at 32 sites around Madison. The sites are open Monday through Friday, serving breakfast, lunch and snack. READ MORE...

From left: Madison East High School occupational therapy team Lisa Jacobson, Kelley Hutchison-Maravilla, and Seth Jawitz-McClellan stand inside the newly renovated East High School greenhouse. Photo by Alyssa Beno. Madison, WI - Students in special education classes at Madison East High School will soon have the opportunity to learn and implement sustainable urban gardening projects with the recent renovation of the school greenhouse. The renovation was done in partnership with REAP Food Group, a Madison-based nonprofit that brings local, sustainably produced food and hands-on agriculture and nutrition education to local schools. Garden-based education is shown to improve students’ knowledge of, and consumption of, fruits and vegetables. “The wealth of research on the benefits of garden education for improving student academic and vocational skills development, as well as physical, social and emotional health outcomes continues to grow,” said REAP’s Farm to School Education Coordinator Haley Traun. “REAP is excited to provide support on an innovative project for deserving students, as well as to engage the larger school community and general public on the advantages of experiential education initiatives designed to reach all students." More than 250 students in special education classes will have access to the greenhouse, where they will learn about and grow vegetables, herbs and flowers alongside REAP’s AmeriCorps Nutrition Educators and local farmers. The project aims to teach students hands-on gardening and business development skills and engage the broader school community through greenhouse and sustainable agriculture activities. “We want it to be a very used, inclusive space, year-round, looking at horticulture but also as a place for mindfulness,” said MMSD occupational therapist Kelley Hutchison-Maravilla. Included in the garden program is hands-on, direct marketing experience as students plan to sell extra plant starts at an end-of-school-year plant sale. The culinary arts program will also use the vegetables and herbs grown in the greenhouse in cooking classes. “One of REAP’s biggest successes was the culinary art program here getting off the ground, getting the AmeriCorps in and then getting the teacher onboard,” said MMSD occupational therapist Lisa Jacobson. “It now runs itself. It’s just a regular component of what happens here at the school so recruiting the right staff members at East to work in conjunction with REAP so this greenhouse can grow food and provide space for kids independent of a single staff member is my goal.” Vegetables and herbs have already been planted in the greenhouse, with lessons planned for May. The project was made possible with funding from North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) and the Rotary Club of Madison. “The ability to come in here and see the life transform from seeds and soil into the actual finished product, [the students] always seem to love it,” said MMSD occupational therapist Seth Jawitz-McClellan....

MADISON MAGAZINE - Go beyond farmers’ markets to support local farmers through the Farm Fresh Atlas of Southern Wisconsin, organized by Madison-based REAP Food Group. The Farm Fresh Atlas launched in 2002 as a trifold pamphlet providing information about farms and businesses that support local food. The latest edition consists of 48 pages covering southern Wisconsin. The online website covers the entire state. READ MORE...

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