NEWS

Pachamama es Vida by Julio Cachiguango

To address the impact of the pandemic on Latino/Indigenous families and small local farms, REAP and Roots4Change created the Farms to Families Fund/de Granjas a Familias Fondo. The program will purchase fresh, healthy, locally grown food from regional family farms and provide it to Madison-area Latino/Indigenous residents and families hard-hit by job loss, food insecurity, lack of access to social services, and federal anti-immigration provisions. With donor support, REAP and Roots4Change plan to purchase fresh food from local farms in the Farm Fresh Atlas network and minority farmers. They will then package and distribute food “resilience boxes” to a network of 200 Latino/Indigenous families, many of whom work in the heavily impacted food service and hospitality industries. Your support helps build resilience in our community for struggling neighbors, workers and family farms. All gifts will be 100% directed toward this emergency initiative. Donations to Farms to Families Fund / Fondo de Granjas a Familias can be made online at reapfoodgroup.org/farms-to-families. The $25,000 target will help us meet our goal to supply resilience boxes to 100 families weekly until July. ...

Dear REAP members and supporters, Well, it’s really been a wild ride these last few days. Our staff has been doing what we can to get organized, keep positive and learn where all the dead Wi-Fi spots in our homes are (there are a lot of them). We are also hard at work figuring out how to best serve those we always have: families who are vulnerable to food insecurity in our community, farmers and producers who grow good food, and the mission-driven businesses that support them. Our mission to make good food, grown well, accessible to all is as relevant and timely as ever. One thing is clear, even at this point: it is not business as usual. Much of our primary work has been altered or disrupted temporarily and we are focused on keeping staff safe and supported during this health emergency. To that end, our office is closed, all staff are working remotely from home, and meetings are attended virtually. As a staff and board, we are putting our heads together to identify food security needs arising in the community and how we can be a good partner and put our resources towards these solutions:REAP will use our social media channels to amplify the needs of our schools and Atlas partners (farms, producers, and businesses), and identify ways you can help. This will include supporting local businesses and farmers, and calls to your elected officials to voice your support for policy alleviations. At a time of feeling helpless to a global pandemic there remains a lot we can do individually and that will have a real impact on our neighbors and small businesses. We will build more digital Farm to School resources. Families are looking for content for their kids at home and learning opportunities.  We continue to plan for the good work that will come on the other side of this current disruption. There will be an “other side” to this and we will be ready to engage in the important work of increasing access to good food, strengthening community partnerships, and elevating community-led solutions to build the just, sustainable food system we all believe in.  Make sure you're following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to hear how you can take action, and continue your support of honest, good food and mission-based businesses. Expect updates on these projects: With MMSD schools closed indefinitely, our AmeriCorps members Madison Soukup and Rachel Leibovich are working to orient their capacities in different ways to continue to support our schools, kids, and community. This is likely to include developing online resources and education for families to access from home. It might also mean assisting in emergency food relief or meal distribution in our community. Look for more info from us about this by next week. Our beautiful Farm Fresh Atlas has been printed and 30,000 copies are ready for action. In the meantime, you can find farms and businesses to support online at www.farmfreshatlas.org Burgers and Brew 2020, originally planned for June 6, is on hiatus while we monitor the coronavirus situation. Consider a gift to REAP to keep us steady through a very tumultuous time. In times of crisis,...

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, Northwoods Farm Fresh Atlas, 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...

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