Thank you to all who participated in October’s National Farm to School Month and Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch! Fort HealthCare along with area schools and organizations celebrated by acknowledging local school garden and nutrition efforts and crunching into a local apple! Photos from Jefferson County’s participation in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch are visible at Facebook.com/FortHealthCare.
In 2010, Congress declared October as National Farm to School Month, recognizing the important relationship between farm and school, promoting well-being among children and families, and enhancing local economies. With your support, Fort HealthCare and area partners were able to engage over 2,000 kids within five elementary schools, six after-school clubs, and three community events throughout Jefferson County – rallying together to promote the awareness month through the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, an activity to gather kids and adults to crunch into a local apple, take a picture, and post to social media. Most Jefferson County schools were heavily involved as well as area organizations such as the Daily Union, Fort Atkinson Fire and Police Departments, Festival Foods, Healthy Community Coalitions, and Master Gardeners.
Hawk’s Orchard in Milton, Jelli’s Market in Helenville, Armstrong and Door Creek Orchards in Cottage Grove, Staude’s Apple Blossom Acres in Watertown, and Pick n’ Save in Fort Atkinson were our growers and suppliers of this year’s Crunches in Jefferson County. A deserving thank you to all the hard work they put in throughout the year and season as well as their support for their communities!
AmeriCorps Farm to School Nutrition Educator for 2016-17, Alicia Brunk, was happy to support Jefferson County activities throughout October, including the Watertown Farmer’s Market that takes place on Thursdays at the Watertown Public Library. “It was very fulfilling for me to collaborate with Staude’s Apple Blossom Acres, along with other local farmers throughout the month, to provide apples for our Apple Crunch awareness activities to promote the importance of healthy kids and communities”. She can be reached for future nutrition education opportunities at Alicia.Brunk@cesa2.org.
Farm to School has been adopted by Jefferson County due to the effectiveness on the health and well-being of its communities. Community connectivity, education, partnership, economy, and morale are positively influenced by the efforts within school gardens, chef in the classroom programs, field trips to the farm, and a wide variety more. Fort HealthCare will continue to support these opportunities and the involvement of other community organizations.
Learn more about Farm to School efforts happening throughout Wisconsin at www.farmtoschool.org/our-network/Wisconsin.
The 2016-17 AmeriCorps Farm to School member is equipped to provide your school with any nutrition education it needs. Please contact Alicia.Brunk@cesa2.org to show your interest.
Fort HealthCare’s Community Coalitions are paving the way through partnerships and support for their school’s gardens. To learn more about the Coalitions, visit FortHealthCare.com/Community-Coalitions.
Lake Mills Elementary School Garden’s first season was a success with many community partners, including the Jefferson County Master Gardeners, and families supporting throughout the summer. They ended the season with a Garden Harvest party and potluck hosted by the Lake Mills Wellness Coalition with dishes featuring produce straight from the garden.
Barrie Elementary School Garden had another successful year thanks to its parents and families involved through the after-school garden club. Harvest events take place in September and October.
LINCS Elementary School Garden is led by a former AmeriCorps Farm to School member and garden enthusiast. Kids are frequently brought out to the garden to not only learn where fresh produce comes from, but to respect the garden in its entirety.
Jefferson West Elementary School Garden and We Grow Garden Club is supported by the Jefferson United Motivating People to Wellness (JUMP) Coalition and Jefferson County Master Gardeners.
UW-W Campus Garden grew and provided the Whitewater Food Pantry over 1,000 pounds of produce! The Campus Garden is sustained by the University’s Sustainability Office and student organizations such as Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE).
Connect with Fort HealthCare’s Community Health and Wellness Department to make your Farm to School stories known! Form coming soon. In the meantime, call 920-568-5244.