NEWS

MADISON, WI - For National Farm to School Month this October, non-profit REAP Food Group is proud to celebrate fresh, sustainable and local food with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Throughout the month, a variety of activities and events involving local, fresh food will be held for Madison students, families and the community. These activities will celebrate the Farm to School Project, a 5-year partnership between REAP Food Group and the MMSD Food and Nutrition Services, which aims to increase the amount of locally-grown, fresh foods in district snacks and lunches, and to teach nutrition and agriculture lessons to students and staff. Last year, MMSD served over 113,000 pounds of locally and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables in school meals. “Our goal is nothing less than a generation of Madison students who cheer for frost-sweetened spinach and know farmers on a first name basis,” says REAP Executive Director Helen Sarakinos. “Farm to School sets children up for a lifelong enjoyment of fresh fruit and vegetables.” Highlights of the Project include: The Farm to School Snack Program, which serves a weekly, locally-grown fruit or veggie snack to more than 300 classrooms at 12 MMSD elementary schools. This program is made possible by the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farm to School Garden Bars, now installed in 42 elementary and middle schools. Garden Bars have resulted in children eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and in less food getting thrown out. Four AmeriCorps Nutrition Educators, who provide lessons for children on nutrition and agriculture, bring local farmers into classrooms to lead lessons on sustainable agriculture, and welcome Madison-area chefs to teach hands-on cooking lessons to middle and high school students. Uproot by REAP Farm to School food truck, serving healthy, locally-sourced, grab-and-go lunches to students at La Follette, Memorial, East and West high schools four days per week. Farm to School Month is a great opportunity for Madison students to try new foods grown by local family farms, learn about where their food comes from, and to connect with each other on sustainable, fresh and accessible produce. Most Farm to School Month events are open to the press.   Wednesday, Oct. 3 - Farm to School Night Out Farm to School Night Out is an all-day event that encourages the community to dine in or carry out at local restaurants. Twenty-six participating restaurants will donate 10% of their sales from Oct. 3 to REAP’s Farm to School Project. For participating restaurants, visit reapfoodgroup.org/events/nightout.   Thursday, Oct. 11 - Great Lakes Apple Crunch All K-12 schools within MMSD participate in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch again this October. Celebrate this event by crunching into apples that are sourced locally and regionally. REAP’s AmeriCorp Nutrition Educators will get out to Madison schools to get students excited about local foods and apple season, and will provide local apples as well. For more information,...

When Madison students go back to school this week, they will be greeted by new teachers and familiar subjects like reading, writing and math. But thanks to REAP’s Farm to School program, many Madison students will also get to snack on locally grown produce like Concord grapes, learn how to cook a meal from a Madison chef and have the opportunity to buy (or receive for free) a school meal — green chile mac 'n' cheese with barbecue pork, anyone? — from a food truck. REAP Food Group, a nonprofit organization based in Madison, has a mission to grow the local food system in southern Wisconsin. The organization’s Farm to School program, in its 11th year, brings fresh and local food to children; establishes reliable markets for local farms using sustainable agricultural practices; and provides hands-on education in Madison classrooms. READ MORE  ...

REAP Food Group partnered with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to conduct a needs assessment and comprehensive evaluation of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and recent improvement efforts. This final report helps identify reasons the SFSP is underutilized, challenges community participants may be experiencing that contribute to low participation rates in the SFSP, and to explore the effectiveness of REAP’s communication and program strategies. The project was made possible with funding from the Wisconsin Partnership Program. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: Evaluation of the Madison Metropolitan School District Summer Food Program and REAP Food Group Improvement Efforts...

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 more than 75 sites, listed below   Find the Farm Fresh Atlas here: Ace Hardware on Willy St. Ancora Coffee Barrique's (Fitchburg) Barrique's (Middleton) Barrique's (Monroe St.) Barrique's (Park St.) Barrique's (W. Wash) Basics Food Co-op (Janesville) Bradbury's Bunky's Café Capitol Center Market Cargo Coffee (E. Wash) Cargo Coffee (S. Park St.) Colectivo (on the square) Colectivo (Monroe St.) Conscious Carnivore Crema Café Crescendo Espresso Bar & Music Café (Monroe St.) East Madison Community Center Espresso Royale EVP Coffee (E. Wash) Fair Trade Coffeehouse (State St.) Goodman Community Center Ground Zero Coffee (Willy St.) Habitat ReStore (East on Cottage Grove Rd.) Inner Fire Yoga Java Cat Jenifer Street Market Kennedy Heights Community Center Lakeside St. Coffeehouse Lazy Jane's Café Lussier Community Center Madison Senior Center Madison Sourdough Manna Cafe Marigold Kitchen Metcalfe's Market* (Hilldale) Metcalfe's Market* (West Towne) Michelangelo's Miller & Sons Grocery (Verona) Monona State Bank (Atwood) Monty's Blue Plate Mother Fools Coffeehouse Orange Tree Imports Paoli Local Foods (Paoli) Public Health (E. Wash) Public Health (Park St.) Regent Market Co-op Research Park Clinic Room of One's Own Stalzy's Deli Trillium Co-op (Mt. Horeb) Tuvalu Coffee & Tea (Verona) Underground Butcher Unitarian Society Victor Allen's Coffee (Monroe St.) Viroqua Food Co-op (Viroqua) Vom Fass Warner Park Community Center Whole Foods* Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Willy Street Co-op East* Willly Street Co-op West* Yahara River Co-op (Stoughton) UW - Ag Hall UW - Bascom Hall Information Center UW Bookstore UW - Campus Red Gym UW - Discovery Center UW - Memorial Union UW - Pyle Center UW - Science Hall UW - Union South UW - Fredrick Center YMCA of Dane County- Lussier Family East YMCA of Dane County- Lussier Family West Madison Senior Center...