Two sites serving four Wisconsin counties will receive hands-on support to grow their Farm to School programs through the service of AmeriCorps.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) AmeriCorps Farm to School Program added the two new host sites to the program and continued partnerships with 14 host sites.
These 16 sites will serve more than 42 school districts in 17 Wisconsin counties, and an additional 60 school districts through the CESA Purchasing host site. All 16 sites will begin recruitment for Nutrition Educators and Community Outreach AmeriCorps members for the service year beginning August 15, 2016.
The new host sites are:
· Marquette, Adams, and Juneau County Health Departments Collaboration — serving Marquette, Adams, and Juneau Counties
· Wisconsin Rapids School District — serving Wood County 'In 2014-2015, we reached more than 10,000 students with nutrition and garden education, established or maintained 75 school gardens, hosted 103 community health events and connected over 120 farmers to local area schools,' said Program Manager Dominique Bradley. 'The efforts of our AmeriCorps members create the building blocks to grow farm to school in Wisconsin. I am excited to welcome the new sites and broaden the reach and impact of our AmeriCorps Farm to School Program.'
AmeriCorps members are on-the-ground advocates for farm to school in their communities. Community Outreach members connect foodservice directors and local farmers, recruit/leverage volunteers, develop community networks, and maintain and develop school gardens. Nutrition Educators provide in-class nutrition and garden education, conduct food tastings, and connect farmers and other local food advocates to Wisconsin youth through presentations and farm visits.
All host sites are currently recruiting new members for the 2016-2017 program year. Apply online at http://tinyurl.com/h8lzpzo and return applications to the Program Manager at Dominique.Bradley@wisconsin.gov
Participating sites applied to DATCP for partnership and funding for AmeriCorps members, which is provided by Serve Wisconsin through the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides members opportunities to learn valuable work skills while serving communities in need.
The AmeriCorps Farm to School Program is part of the broader Wisconsin Farm to School Program, which supports robust farm to school activities across the state. Farm to school activities throughout Wisconsin are supported by a wide array of partnerships between local, regional, non-profit and state partners.
'Farm to school programs are great ways to promote children's health by providing locally grown foods and to strengthen local economies by expanding markets for local farmers. We are proud to have the AmeriCorps program serving in this capacity,' said Bradley.