The Vernon County Farm to School program integrates fresh, whole foods into school lunches and classrooms in southwest Wisconsin while teaching children the lifelong benefits of healthy eating.

Photo

About

350true
dots
bottomright
178true
false
800http://www.farmtoschoolvc.org/wp-content/plugins/thethe-image-slider/style/skins/frame-white
  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide1

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide2

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide3

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide4

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide5

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide6

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide7

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide8

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide9

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide10

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide11

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide12

  • 5000
    fade
    false
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide13

  • 5000
    fade
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide14

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide15

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide16

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide17

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide18

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide19

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide20

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide21

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide22

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide23

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide24

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide25

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide26

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide27

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide28

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide29

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide30

  • 5000
    random
    true
    60
    bottom
    30

    Slide31

CHECK OUT OUR PHOTO ALBUM!

 

VIROQUA SCHOOLS FEATURED ON “CHEFS MOVE TO SCHOOLS”

 

ABOUT

Announcement!

Reminder to any schools interested in entering the 6th Annual Harvest Challenge that team mentor and chef mentor forms must be turned in no later than May 30th.

What We Do

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.

Your Role in Developing Healthy Eating Habits

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.

IT STARTED WITH SCHOOL LUNCH

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.

Harvest of the Month

HARVEST OF THE MONTH

November

Cranberries

DID YOU KNOW?

 

Cranberries are the state fruit of Wisconsin! 

Cranberries grow on low running vines, sandy bogs and marshes.

It takes 3-5 years for a cranberry bed to produce a large enough crop to harvest.

 

  

cranberries

Download your November newsletter and free recipe here.
VITAMIN C VITAMIN K MANGANESE FIBER

fun facts
  • Cranberries are sometimes referred to as “bounceberries” because the ripe
    cranberries bounce.
  • The red color from cranberries was used by Native Americans and Pilgrims as a dye for clothing.
  • Sailors would eat cranberries to prevent a disease called scurvy, which is caused by a lack of Vitamin C, which a cranberry contains.
history

Native Americans used cranberries for food, medicine and pigment in dyes. It is believed that they shared cranberries with starving early American settlers to cure them from a disease called scurvy which is caused by a deficiency in vitamin C. The settlers in Massachusetts soon incorporated cranberries into their annual Thanksgiving feasts.

varieties

There are more than 100 varieties of cranberries that grow in North America. Four of the popular varieties include:

Stevens- the most common type of cranberry grown, including 51% of all cranberries grown in Wisconsin.

Early Blacks- the main berry harvested in Massachusetts. This berry can be picked before the winter frost season unlike most other cranberries.

Ben Lear- this berry develops color in early-mid September.

Howes- this variety produces a large, firmer and tarter berry.

healthy eating

Cranberries are high in Vitamin C which helps to strengthen the immune system and prevent sickness. Also, when cranberries are chewed, the Vitamin C slows bacteria growth and prevents cavities. Cranberries also contain Vitamin K which helps blood to clot and fiber that helps to create a strong digestive system. Cranberries are a healthy fruit when consumed but because of their tartness cranberry juices and gels tend to contain high amounts of sugar. Sweetening cranberries with other fruit juices can help lessen the sugar content.

 


Harvest Challenge

IMG_1821

Harvest Challenge- November 8th, 2014!

The 6th Annual Harvest Challenge was held  on November 8th, 2014 and took place at the Westby Middle/High School.

Viroqua High School won the Judge’s Choice and took home the traveling trophy.  Their mentors this year were Jenny Leum, Robin Hosemann and Luke Zahm from the Driftless Cafe.  Kickapoo walked away as both the Community Choice winner and the Student Choice winner. Their mentors were Todd Martinson and Dani Lind from the Rooted Spoon.

Harvest Challenge Overview

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 while incorporating locally grown foods.  At the same time the entrée and side dish must comply with national nutritional guidelines and meet a budget of $1.00 per person per serving (entrée and side dish 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.

2013 Winners

Judges Choice:

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:

sponsors

Resources

Resources and News

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.

NEWS

PRESS RELEASES

September 25, 2013- Regional Polling

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

PUBLISHED ARTICLES

October 30, 2013- Local Chefs Spice Up School Lunches

March 31, 2011 – Bergman Explains Farm-to-School Initiative
December 16, 2010 – AmeriCorps Member Speaks to Hillsboro Food Classes
July 6, 2010 – School Gardens Boost Students Healthy Eating Habits

farm to school movement

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.

National Farm to School Network
National Farm to School Month

USDA Farm to School site

AmeriCorps Farm to School Program

local foods

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.

Buy Fresh Buy Local

Schools

Schools

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.

DE SOTO SCHOOL DISTRICT

De Soto School District includes Stoddard Elementary, Prairieview Elementary & De Soto Middle and High Schools.  De Soto Elementary is active in classroom lessons about and tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the Vernon County AmeriCorps member.  De Soto Middle School and High School students tend a very large school garden in the area as well.  De Soto High School students were Harvest Challenge participants in 2010 and 2011 – winning the “Student Choice Award” in 2011.  De Soto Schools has appointed a representative to work with the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition to move their program forward and create a model for schools countywide.  De Soto Schools are the focus of Year One grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin. Start-up grant funds have allowed for the purchase of basic food processing equipment for the food service staff.

HILLSBORO SCHOOL DISTRICT

Hillsboro School District includes Hillsboro Elementary & Hillsboro Middle and High Schools. Hillsboro Elementary has participated in classroom lessons about and tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the Vernon County AmeriCorps member.  Hillsboro High School students participated in the 2010 Harvest Challenge tying for “Student Choice Winners” with Youth Initiative High School that year. Hillsboro School District is the focus of Year Two grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin and has been invited to join the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition in order to be represented and heard as our program continues to develop, expand and affect school policy countywide.

KICKAPOO AREA SCHOOLS

Kickapoo Area Schools includes Kickapoo Elementary School & Kickapoo Middle and High School. Kickapoo Area Schools are the focus of Year Two grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin and has been invited to join the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition in order to be represented and heard as our program continues to develop, expand and affect school policy countywide. Vernon County Farm to School Project Coordinator, Shawna Bohan, is communicating with Kickapoo FOCUS – a parent group, regarding the future of Farm to School at Kickapoo Area Schools.

LA FARGE SCHOOL DISTRICT

La Farge School District includes La Farge Elementary & La Farge Middle and High Schools. La Farge Elementary is active in classroom lessons about and tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the Vernon County AmeriCorps member.  La Farge Schools have a large school garden – Food Links – on property donated by Organic Valley Co-op, also headquartered in La Farge, WI. La Farge High School students will be participating in their third Harvest Challenge student cooking competition in 2012.  La Farge students previously took the “Community Choice Award” in 2010 and the “Judges Choice Award” in 2011. La Farge School District has an active wellness committee and has also appointed a representative to work with the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition to move their program forward and create a model for schools countywide. La Farge School District is the focus of Year One grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin. Start-up grant funds have allowed for the purchase of basic food processing equipment for the food service staff.

VIROQUA AREA SCHOOLS

The Vernon County Farm to School program operates out of Viroqua Area School District (VAS) which is also the base for the Vernon County Farm to School AmeriCorps member, Bryce Griffin.  The Viroqua Area Schools includes Viroqua Elementary, Viroqua Middle & High Schools, Laurel Charter School and Better Futures High School.  All Viroqua Area Schools benefit from the incorporation of a variey of local foods in the school cafeterias.  Viroqua Elementary and Middle Schools are active in classroom lessons about and tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the Vernon County AmeriCorps member. Viroqua Middle School students also tend a garden on school property and benefit from garden lessons during summer school sessions.  Viroqua High School students are involved in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) by working in the on-site greenhouse and nearby apple orchard – then bringing that fresh, local produce into classrooms and cafeterias.  Viroqua Area Schools, along with the help of many dedicated volunteers, developed the “Harvest Challenge” student cooking competition and silent auction which serves as an excellent learning experience for high school students and also as the primary funding for the full-time Vernon County AmeriCorps member. Viroqua High School students will participate in their fourth Harvest Challenge in 2012. Viroqua Area Schools have appointed a representative to work with the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition to move the program forward and create a model for schools countywide.  Viroqua Area Schools are the focus of Year One grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin.

WESTBY SCHOOLS

Westby Schools includes Westby Elementary, Coon Valley Elementary & Westby Middle and High Schools. Westby and Coon Valley Elementary Schools have participated in classroom lessons about and tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables through the efforts of the Vernon County AmeriCorps member. Westby High School students participated in the Harvest Challenge in 2009 and are active in Future Farmers of America. Westby Schools are the focus of Year Two grant funds made available to Vernon County Farm to School through Transform Wisconsin and have been invited to join the Vernon County Farm to School Coalition in order to be represented and heard as our program continues to develop, expand and affect school policy countywide.

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 dapkri@viroqua.k12.wi.us  or 608.637.1540.

Support Us

SUPPORT US

food education requires community support

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:

private contributions

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.

business sponsorships




volunteer opportunities

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 gabash@viroqua.k12.wi.us or 608-637-1539.

 

Vernon County Farm to School
100 Blackhawk Drive
Viroqua, WI 54665
608-637-1539
© 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Whereabouts
Made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.