The program has been expanded for the 2013-14 school year from nine sites to 14 in Wisconsin. Two AmeriCorps volunteers based at UW-Stout will coordinate the Dunn County program; Joe Kalscheur and Kara Helget begin work Thursday, Aug. 22.
The effort at UW-Stout is a partnership with the food and nutrition academic department, under the guidance of Associate Professor Kerry Peterson. Additional support will be provided by the campus Involvement Center led by Jennifer Lee.
A factor in Dunn County being chosen as a 2013-14 Farm to School site was the work of a 2012-13 AmeriCorps volunteer at UW-Stout, Trevor Peterson.
Farm to School promotes healthy eating, aims to decrease childhood obesity and increase access to local foods in school. It also provides nutrition education for students from kindergarten through 12th grade, according to a news release from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection, which announced the sites.
"Since 2008, AmeriCorps Farm to School has seen great results generating community support, building school gardens, connecting Wisconsin producers to school food service and creating curriculum," said Sarah Larson, DATCP's AmeriCorps Farm to School Program Manager.
This year Farm to School will involve grocery stores and include after-school and family-focused events to improve community, grower and school inter-relationships, DATCP said.
The program's goal is to "make a long-term impact on Wisconsin," Larson said.
The 14 sites this year will serve 39 rural and urban school districts. Along with Dunn, other new counties are Vilas, Richland and Winnebago along with a second site in Dane County. Counties continuing to host sites are Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Dane, Portage, Vernon, Washburn and Waupaca.
Each site will have a minimum of one full-time or two half-time AmeriCorps members to engage the community, according to DATCP. A total of 28 AmeriCorps volunteers will be involved.