Reminder to any schools interested in entering the 7th Annual Harvest Challenge that team mentor and chef mentor forms must be turned in no later than May 29th to the Vernon County Farm to School staff members.
You can now download the Vernon County Farm to School Toolkit. This toolkit is comprised of all of the Harvest of the Month lessons that are carried out in the Vernon County Schools. They are grade level specific lessons for each Harvest of the Month that highlight different topics about local foods. Use this toolkit to help your Farm to School nutrition education lessons get started!
Since 2008, the Vernon County Farm to School Initiative has been working to improve southwest Wisconsin’s health, economy, and environment by bringing fresh, local foods to school lunches. We also bring food education into classrooms with new food tastings, farmer visits, and discussions about healthy food choices and what they do for us.
We’re expanding our reach beyond schools to share healthy eating ideas at home and in grocery stores. We believe every meal is a chance to learn about the delicious and healthy benefits of eating fresh foods from our farmer neighbors. That’s why we’re offering tools to help everyone get involved.
Watch for our featured Harvest of the Month foods in your local grocery store or food co-op, so you can nurture healthy eating habits at home. We’ll be offering free recipes, newsletters, school lunch menus, and other resources on this web site, so visit us often and click here to sign up for our emails.
Vernon County Farm to School was created by a coalition of citizen groups and individuals concerned about nutrition in school lunch, including Viroqua Area School District, Valley Stewardship Network, and Chef Monique Hooker. Today, the Coalition also includes Fifth Season Cooperative. We do it with the help of AmeriCorp Members, outstanding volunteers, and now with the added help of a Transform Wisconsin grant. Your support is needed to expand the full program into ALL Vernon County school districts, now and into the future. Click here to learn more about supporting the program.
80% of asparagus in the United States is grown in California.
White asparagus is grown underground and it is white in color because it never sees sunlight.
Download your May newsletter and free recipe here.
VITAMIN K VITAMIN A COPPER IRON
Asparagus is one of the oldest recorded vegetables. It has been eaten by humans for over 20,000 years. It was used as a medicine in ancient times and you can see it being eaten in ancient Egyptian paintings. There are also records of it being enjoyed at special Roman feasts and in French monasteries. Asparagus was first grown in America around 1850 and has been popular in the United States ever since.
There are three colors of asparagus: green, purple and white.
•Green asparagus is the most common variety grown in the world. They can be thin or thick depending on their age and variety.
•White asparagus is grown without letting sunlight touch the stalks. They are usually covered with straw while growing.
•Purple asparagus has high levels of anthocyanins, which gives it the purple color. It also has a lower fiber contenet than white or green asparagus and is sweeter and more tender than the other types.
Most asparagus grown in the United States is grown in California, Michigan and Washington. Peru is the number one exporter of asparagus.
Asparagus is a low calorie, nutrient packed vegetable. The green, woody vegetable contains only 4 calories per spear and contains nutrients of potassium, vitamin A, fiber, folate, thiamin and vitamin B6. Fiber helps food move effectively through our bodies. Folate, thiamin and vitamin B6 help our metabolism, produce energy and help fight off infections. Asparagus is good for you both raw and cooked.
The 7th Annual Harvest Challenge will be on November 7th, 2015 and will take place at the Westby Middle/High School.
The date has been set for the 7th Annual Harvest Challenge. Put it on your calendars and come out and support these high school cooking teams and the Vernon County Farm to School program! If you are interested in helping or want to learn more, contact Ashlee Gabrielson at email@example.com.
The Harvest Challenge is a student cooking competition that highlights the need for more nutritious and locally grown school lunches, both to better nourish our youth and create stronger and healthier local rural economies.
The contest is open to high school students Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon Counties. The contest challenges each team of students to develop a creative, appetizing and visually appealing school lunch entrée and side dish(s) while incorporating locally grown foods. At the same time the entrée and side dish(s) must comply with national nutritional guidelines and meet a budget of $1.00 per person per serving (entrée and side dish(s) combined).
Each team has a chef mentor, from a local restaurant or kitchen, who will provide culinary lessons and inspiration for the students. Each team also has a team mentor from their high school, who will provide support and guidance throughout the entire Harvest Challenge process. Each team’s entrée and side dish must also be approved by their Food Service Director.
Participating teams will serve their healthy school lunches to a panel of judges, their peers and the public during the 6th Annual Award-winning Harvest Challenge Tasting Event. The winner of the competition will be announced at the event.
Download the Rules and Information Packet here.
1st Place – Viroqua-Butternut Squash Lasagna and Waldorf Salad
2nd Place – Kickapoo-Harvest Challenge Pizza and Apple Crisp
3rd Place – De Soto-White Bean Chili and Fruit Salsa
4th Place – La Farge-Country Breakfast Casserole and Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll
5th Place – Westby-Chicken Lasagna and Grape Fluff
Student Choice (all elementary, middle, and high school students attending the event cast their votes for):
1st Place: Kickapoo High School
2nd Place: Westby High School
3rd Place: La Farge High School
Community Choice (all adults attending the event cast their votes for):
1st Place: Kickapoo High School
2nd Place: Westby High School
3rd Place: De Soto High School
This event serves as the primary fundraiser for Vernon County Farm to School and could not be successful without the dedication of our high school teams, their mentors, our amazing volunteers, a supportive community and access to fresh, local foods! This event was attended by many Farm to School representatives from other counties in Wisconsin who hope to duplicate the Harvest Challenge concept in their own counties. Vernon County should be very proud of what has been accomplished here. Looking forward to next year!
Thanks to our wonderful Harvest Challenge sponsors:
Vernon County Farm To School is working to improve public health and access to nutritious foods, right here in southwestern Wisconsin. Now in our fifth year, we’re expanding our reach beyond schools to share healthy eating ideas with everyone in Vernon County. After all, some of the most important lessons happen before and after the school bells ring.
January 11, 2013 – Harvest Challenge Honored at State Capitol
October 22, 2012 – 2012 Harvest Challenge Winners Announced
October 11, 2012 – Vernon County Farm to School Website Goes Live
October 1, 2012 – Vernon County Farm to School Launches State Funded Outreach Campaign
An estimated 5.7 million students in 12,429 schools benefited from Farm to School during the 2011-2012 school year, and close to $13 million was spent on local products in schools. Learn more.
For school lunch Vernon County Farm to School encourages sourcing of foods produced in southwest Wisconsin, as much as possible. We do it because we live in a farming community and we believe in supporting our local economy.
Vernon County Farm to School is working to improve nutrition and food education in southwest Wisconsin schools including: De Soto Schools, Hillsboro Schools, Kickapoo Area Schools, La Farge Schools, Viroqua Area Schools, Westby Schools and more. Learn what the Vernon County Farm to School program is doing in your school and link to your school below.
Vernon County Farm to School serves many schools within the county, both public and private. Currently, districts affected by grant funding through Transform Wisconsin are listed here. We look forward to highlighting all Vernon County schools within the program in the near future! If you would like to add information about your school or district here, please contact the Vernon County Farm to School Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608.637.1540.
Many school districts, including some in Vernon County, no longer have the staff and equipment to store and prepare fresh foods and to teach students about the foods. Some schools have policies, contracts, and budgets that don’t allow for flexibility to source fresh, seasonal foods.
We’ve been fortunate to receive financial support to get started, but your help is needed. With your financial assistance we can help all Vernon County school districts in making the changes and getting the tools they need to participate in Farm to School, now and in the future. Here’s how you can help:
Your financial support helps us to work with area schools to get their programs started and growing. Donations to a Public School System for the benefit of a public purpose may be deductible as charitable contributions by the Donor. Click to donate now.
Our fund-raising activities and events are a great opportunity for your business to show its community pride. Contact Ashlee Gabrielson to learn more at email@example.com or 608-637-1539.
From class field trips to event support, Vernon County Farm to School often has need of extra hands. Contact Ashlee Gabrielson, Vernon County Farm to School Outreach Coordinator, to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-637-1539.