September 2022: Back to School
Dear Wisconsin Farm to School,

October is National Farm to School Month, so you may have been hearing that phrase a lot lately. Farm to School and ECE means different things to different programs and people. It’s any way that your school or program is connected with the central pillars of Farm to School: nutrition education, procurement of local foods, school and youth gardens, and family engagement. While family engagement is discussed more in the context of early care and education sites, the connections among food, nutrition, culture, family, and education are inextricable for learners of all ages.

So, what is Farm to School?
  • It’s an elementary school cafeteria full of kids eating pasta with sauce made from tomatoes grown in their school garden.
  • It’s locally sourced milk served daily with lunch.
  • It’s a sixth grade class biting into apples donated by a local orchard to celebrate The Great Lakes Apple Crunch.
  • It's kindergarteners singing about the dirt that made their lunches.
  • It’s a high schooler yanking a carrot from the school’s garden bed before feeling it crunch between her teeth.
  • It's eating a bean while talking about the plant it came from and the soil it grew in.
  • It’s your school's garden.
Farm to school is all about helping kids access healthy foods through a combination of health and agricultural education, hands-on garden-based learning, and incorporating locally produced foods.
And we’re so thrilled to be part of it. School and community youth gardens can be an integral component of farm to school initiatives, from seed-to-plant connections, to hands-on learning opportunities, to cultivating enthusiasm for snacking on veggies.
Below you’ll find great resources, stories, and ideas to help you, your students, and your community celebrate Farm to School Month.

Renata Solan, Communications Director, Rooted/Wisconsin School Garden Network

Click below to jump to:

Throughout the newsletter, you will see these icons after descriptions of resources, funding opportunities, and more to help you find information that is right for your program:
Announcements & Highlights

TOMORROW, Thursday, October 13 is Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch!

Join the 2022 Great Apple Crunch to celebrate Wisconsin farmers, healthy kids, and strong communities this October. Participating in the Crunch is simple: buy, serve, and Crunch into locally grown apples! Learn more and find resources.
(Not ready to Crunch tomorrow? No problem! Crunch any time in October in celebration of Farm to School Month.)

The 2023 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open

USDA will award up to $12 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the Farm to School Grant Program in FY 2023. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for better health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. Learn more and apply.

Sign up for the School Garden Support Organization Network Newsletter!

Every other month, the newsletter will be highlighting resources, videos, webinars and more from the SGSO Network and partners (like us!) all within a theme centered on impactful school garden programming. Sign up here.
Joke of the Month
Click the green joke of the month button below to see the answer to this month's joke and to see Wisconsin School Garden Network's library of past jokes.
Have a farm to school joke to share? Email Rooted's Communications Director Renata Solan at
Joke of the Month: Why was the pumpkin scared after she was carved into a jack-o-lantern?
Tools & Resources

Kids Gardening: Thanks a Bunch for my Lunch!

Thanks a bunch for my lunch! From field to table, we rely on so many different people to grow and prepare the food we eat each day. Help young gardeners better understand our food system by encouraging them to brainstorm ways to express their thanks to these very special and essential people in our lives. View resource.

Statewide Farm to School Procurement Incentives: Design Thinking & Analysis of the National Policy Landscape

Farm to School incentive policies strive to increase institutional local food purchasing by offsetting the cost of local ingredients. This report describes and characterizes the variation in 15 statewide Farm to School incentives with respect to their (a) design, (b) context, and (c) alignment to policy goals often attributed to Farm to School. Find the full report, a research summary, and supplemental sources here.

Food Day Curriculum

Every October 24, thousands of events all around the country bring people together to celebrate National Food Day. This curriculum offers five lessons about the benefits of eating fresh foods. The lessons can be easily adapted for older or younger students. View resource.

Kids Gardening: Pumpkin Play

Pumpkins are an abundant resource in the fall for classroom, community, and at-home activities. Here are a few great ways to incorporate pumpkins into your garden learning. View resource.
Webinars, Conferences, Events & Trainings
Wisconsin Farm to ECE Workgroup
October 19, 2022 // 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. // Virtual
Join Rooted and our community of practice for all interested in Farm to ECE – farmers, ECE providers, and nonprofit professionals gather to discuss the current ECE landscape, brainstorm projects and challenges, and share updates on their work. This month we will be discussing our vision for the Workgroup going forward, as well as sharing successes for WI Farm to School month! For more information and to be added to the email list, email

Growing School Garden Summit Webinar Series: Lightening Talks
October 19, 2022 // 1:00 p.m. // Virtual
Join this well facilitated hour-long session consisting of 5-minute Lighting Talks from a variety of school garden professionals! After each talk, there will be time to digest the valuable information shared and ask questions. Learn more and register here.

Kids Gardening Community Chats
Multiple dates // Virtual 
Whether you're new to gardening or a seasoned educator, you don't have to take on the challenges of gardening with kids alone. Community Chats are the perfect place to build connections with a community to share, inspire, and support you!
Upcoming topics include:
October 26: Composting
November 16: Winter Gardening with Kids

Learn more and register here.
Registration is open for the 2022 WAEE Conference
November 3, 2022 (virtual), November 4-5, 2022 (in-person) // Greater Milwaukee Area
Registration is now open for the annual Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education conference. This year’s theme is "Awareness to Action." 
Learn more and register here.

Growing School Garden Summit Webinar Series: Sustainable Professional Development Framework
November 16, 2022 // 1:00 p.m. // Virtual
Learn about a replicable framework for a professional development series designed to help school garden educators build gardening confidence, foster collaboration among leaders, and strengthen garden programs for long-term success. 
Learn more and register here.

Funding Opportunities
Budding Botanist Grant
Deadline: October 14, 2022 
The Budding Botanist grant will help our students learn about plants, explore their world, and inspire them to take care of the life they discover in their local ecosystems. 
Learn more here.

Job Opportunities
Good Food Purchasing Specialist, Chicago Food Policy Action Council
Deadline: Open until filled 
Are you passionate about creating equitable food systems in Chicago and across the region? This newly created position will strengthen the capacity to more deeply implement GFPP, build equitable supply chains, and cultivate a good food culture across community food access sites. Learn more and apply here. 
News & Policy Updates

A Milwaukee nonprofit that helps teens earn while learning to grow produce, flowers and other greenery is planning a $7 million expansion

A Milwaukee nonprofit group that helps teens earn money while working to grow produce, flowers and other greenery is planning a $7 million development. Read the article.

Ambassador to the UN visits Badger Rock, explores community garden

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visited Badger Rock Neighborhood Center to see how the center, its partner Rooted, and Badger Rock Middle School are working together to fight food insecurity. Read the article.

New Resource Offers Roadmap for Informing, Evaluating Farm to Early Care and Education Programs

Late this summer, The Policy Equity Group, in partnership with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN), released the Farm to Early Care and Education Shared Metrics, a powerful resource for families, providers, funders, policymakers and others interested in seeing this sensible Farm to ECE model take root in local communities. Read the article.

Elementary School Hosts Farmers Market for Students

Students could use “veggie bucks” to purchase produce at the market. Read the article.
What's Growing in Wisconsin?

Roots in the Ground Participant Story
By Lilana Parish
Villas Family Daycare, Oregon, WI
I had a wonderful experience with Rooted. They took the time to come to my daycare on 4 different days. Each day they taught my daycare kids different gardening techniques. First, they taught how to prepare the garden beads. Then they taught us how to prepare the seeds. They taught us how to care for the plants as they were growing. When it was time to harvest the vegetables, they showed the kids the proper way to pick the veggies. During each visit they showed the kids how to prepare and cook a different vegetable from the garden.

It's very important for kids to learn where their food comes from and how it is prepared. It's also important for them to try new fruits and vegetables. Rooted did an amazing job peaking the children's interest. The kids enjoyed each lesson. Their favorite part was getting to eat vegetables that they picked and helped prepare. Anyone who runs an early childhood education program would greatly benefit from this experience.
More about this month's story:
Through a pilot program for the new Roots in the Ground curriculum, Rooted staff have been working with four early care sites in Dane County this season. We have enjoyed getting to know these amazing providers and the children they serve. Lilana Parish recently finished her training with us and the above is a reflection on her time in the program. We’re thrilled to work with Lilana and the other Roots in the Ground pilot sites, and hope to share more from participants as we complete the trainings this fall. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this program possible!
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Copyright © 2021, Growing Together: Wisconsin's Farm to School/ECE and School Garden Newsletter, All rights reserved.


Growing Together: Wisconsin's Farm to School/ECE and School Garden Newsletter is a collaboration of Rooted and Wisconsin School Garden Network. Growing Together is published and distributed by Rooted.

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