January 2022: Let's Grow Together! 

Welcome to the new Wisconsin Farm to School/ECE and School Garden newsletter, brought to you by Rooted and Wisconsin School Garden Network. Since that's quite a mouthful, we thought this newsletter's name should reflect what we in the farm to school community are all doing: Growing Together.

Whether you were subscribed to the Wisconsin School Garden Network newsletter or the Wisconsin Farm to School and ECE newsletter, Growing Together will offer you all of the same resources, grant opportunities, stories, and more that you've come to expect.

So, why the new newsletter? Wisconsin is a leader in youth garden education and school gardens are increasingly a part of other aspects of farm to school and ECE, like nutrition education, family engagement, and garden to cafeteria. Having separate newsletters means that you--Wisconsin's educators, food service directors, administrators, nonprofit workers, farm to school supporters, families, and more--might miss out on something that could strengthen your program or support your work.

We've also added some features to help you out. Below, you'll find a key describing icons that you'll see throughout the newsletter. These are a shorthand so that you can quickly know if a resource, funding opportunity, or event is right for your program.

How does the new newsletter look to you? We want your feedback so that this newsletter can meet the needs of Wisconsin's entire farm to school, farm to ECE, and school garden community.

Here's to cultivating a fruitful 2022 together!

Erica Krug, Farm to School Director, Rooted/WI School Garden Network

Renata Solan, Communications Director, Rooted/WI 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:

Wisconsin Chili Lunch is Thursday, Feb. 24!

Celebrate Wisconsin-grown foods and farm to institution efforts by joining the 2022 Wisconsin Chili Lunch. Join K-12 schools, early care and education programs, hospitals, colleges, and more by cooking and serving a chili recipe made with local ingredients on National Chili Day—Thursday, February 24th, 2022! Learn more and register here.
Joke of the Month
Those of you joining us from the Wisconsin School Garden Network Newsletter are already familiar with our monthly jokes. We're excited to expand our corn-y humor beyond the garden! 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 did the chicken cross the playground?
Tools & Resources

Master Gardener Association of San Diego County School Garden Curriculum

Integrate curriculum with your school garden.  This resource has school garden lessons and units by grade level, PK-12, that connect to Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. View resource.

20 Children’s Books Celebrating Food and Inspiring Young Eaters

Food Tank is highlighting 20 children’s books celebrating how a shared love of nutritious food unites diverse groups of people from cultures across the globe. Young readers can foster an appreciation for the hardworking hands that grow and cook our foods and the cultural practices that build community. View resource.

2020 Wisconsin Farm to ECE Provider Survey Results

The results of the 2020 Wisconsin Farm to ECE Provider Survey are now available on the Rooted website. Goals of this survey included learning about existing farm to ECE activities taking place at sites across the state and assessing the challenges and successes in starting and implementing farm to ECE activities. View resource.

Getting Started with Farm to Early Care & Education from Black Child Development Institute of Atlanta

This self-paced online course trains early educators on how to create intentional and supportive environmental experiences that encourage healthy eating habits and meet the diverse needs of all learners. This training elevates cultural awareness and responsiveness of early educators to better address all children’s nutritional needs. View resource.
Webinars, Conferences, Events & Trainings
Green Thumb Gardening – Winter Vegetable Series Online
January 10 - March 21, 2022 // Union South, Madison, WI // Virtual
The Green Thumb Gardening class series will give you the practical knowledge to keep your home garden thriving! Dane County Extension educators and local horticulture experts provide in depth and accessible information for everyone from the novice to the experienced gardener. Register for the complete class series at a discounted price.
 Learn more and register here.
Farm to Early Childhood in the Kitchen Workshop Series
January 13 - February 10, 2022 // Union South, Madison, WI // Virtual
This course will introduce participants to the Cafeteria/Kitchen part of the 3 C’s model of Farm to Early Childhood Education (FTEC). It will provide an overview of child nutrition and explore environmental, policy, and programmatic factors which support the development of children’s healthy eating behaviors.
 Learn more and register here.

Farm to ECE Workgroup
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 // 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. // Virtual
All ECE providers, interested farmers, and support organization workers are invited to attend our monthly WI Farm to ECE Workgroup call. Share successes and challenges, and make connections with folks across the state. This month, Deb Moses will share about her work as Rooted staff member and a small scale farmer who has partnered with ECE sites. To be added to our mailing list, please contact or

Teaching in Nature's Classroom Free Online Course
January 24 - May 9, 2022 // Virtual
Registration is open for the Spring 2022 session of Teaching in Nature's Classroom. This free, self-directed 15-week course is for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field. The course covers teaching in outdoor environments with an emphasis on youth gardens. 
Learn more and register here.

The Lifecycle of Farm to School Workshop Series
Thursday, January 27 // 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. CT // Virtual
Interested in starting or expanding an existing school garden? Join the DPI School Nutrition Team for a series of eight, free workshops featuring steps in the Lifecycle of Farm to School (school garden). The first workshop, Seed Starting, will be held Thursday, January 27th and will cover how to start seeds indoors this winter to plant in the school garden in the spring. 
Learn more and register here.

Call For Presentations: School Nutrition Association Annual Conference
Deadline: Sunday, January 30
From Nutrition, Operations, Administration to Communications & Marketing information, the SNA-WI Annual Conference offers attendees a range of educational sessions. The SNA-WI Steering Committee is accepting proposals for consideration for the 2022 Conference. Take this opportunity to share your knowledge with your colleagues and friends. 
Learn more here.
SGSO Network Webinar: Indicators of Successful School Gardens 
March 25, 2022 // Virtual
Join school garden researchers from across the country to learn about what makes a school garden successful. 
Learn more and register here.

Funding Opportunities
GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant
Deadline: February 4, 2022
The GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant is designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the United States. 150 programs will be awarded $500 to start or expand their youth garden or greenspace.
 Learn more here.
RFA open for USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program
Deadline: April 5, 2022 
The purpose of this program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency and the program will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the purchase of domestic local foods.
 Learn more here.

Job Opportunities
South Whidbey School Farms Manager
Deadline: January 15, 2022
The School Farms Manager is responsible for the sustainable operation of the School Farms in support of the curriculum of the educational program. The food grown is distributed to benefit the South Whidbey School District students, families and partner organizations. Learn more here.
National Farm to School Policy Intern
Deadline: January 20, 2022
National Farm to School Network seeks a part-time Policy Intern to support implementation of NFSN’s policy advocacy priorities. Learn more here.
National Farm to School Network Program Fellow
Deadline: January 28, 2022
The Program Fellow will support multiple aspects of NFSN’s programmatic initiatives aimed at equitably advancing the farm to school movement, with a focus on farm to early care and education (ECE) settings and farm to school/ECE evaluation. Learn more here.
75th Alice in Dairyland Applications Open
Deadline: February 4, 2022
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) invites individuals with a passion for promoting agriculture to apply for the 75th Alice in Dairyland position. As one of the most widely recognized communications professionals in Wisconsin agriculture, Alice in Dairyland travels extensively throughout the state promoting Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. Learn more here.
REAP Food Group Executive Director
Deadline: Mid-February 2022
REAP is seeking a creative and principled community-facing Executive Director with the core values, operational management, fundraising, and food systems knowledge necessary to successfully guide REAP’s work and strategic growth. Learn more here.
News & Policy Updates

AmeriCorps Farm to School Program is Win-Win for Farmers, Schools, and Community

"The AmeriCorps Farm to School Program grows connections and educates students, teachers, and families about farming and agriculture, specifically where food comes from, how it grows, and the nutritional value of food," Schneider said. Read the article.

Listening is First Step in Serving Native Communities

By the time a new food program to serve Indigenous populations in Wisconsin wraps up at the end of this month, it will have distributed more than 10,000 food boxes to Tribal Elders throughout the state. For the hunger-relief organizations involved, it also will have provided a new perspective on how to run food distribution programs. Read the article.
Feature Story
Our feature stories will include Farm to School tales from around the state. Want to share your story with the Wisconsin Farm to School community? Email Rooted's Communications Director Renata Solan at
AmeriCorps Farm to School Service Story: Schoolyard Gardens - Fall Harvest 2021
By Amy J. Ford
Upon reflection, while joining AmeriCorps as a Farm to School Specialist and committing to providing Farm to School-F2S programming in two urban Madison schools, I was unknowingly standing witness to strengthened personal and community well-being rooted in engaging garden opportunity. I have met countless community members, educators, school staff, parents/families and scholars dedicated to the benefits of schoolyard garden education. We are all growing together while exploring a wealth of opportunity within F2S Programming.

Amidst the endless stressors associated with educating elementary scholars “safely” during an ongoing pandemic, there was abundant energy and joy in the schoolyard garden! Together we experienced engaging learning opportunities that provided exciting revelations, tasty opportunities, supported exploration, and community engagement.

Exciting Revelations: Apples grow on trees. I can eat tomatoes I picked off a plant. Worms love the dirt and need it to live. I can hold a worm in my hand and not be afraid. Dirt needs to be fed to grow healthy plants, just like I need healthy food to grow well. Cilantro smells like home. I love to garden, I’m going to tell my mom about this so we can garden at home.
Tasty Opportunity: Tomatillo salsa processed with a kid powered bike blender. Picking my own apple off a tree. Taste comparing three different varieties of apples that grow at school. We eat the seeds of many plants, sunflower seeds are yummy. Kale from the garden tastes green and fresh. Tomatoes from the schoolyard garden taste best!
Supported Exploration: There are worms and bugs in the dirt! Other animals besides us eat the plants in the garden. I can use all my senses to eat, even food I never tried before. Cold weather freezes the water in plants and they die. Digging in the dirt to put the garden to bed is fun!!! I like digging, composting and winterizing the garden to make a safe, warm winter bed for the worms. Raking leaves is fun with friends!
Community Engagement: When supported, school staff are very excited to get their classrooms learning outside. When asked, custodial personnel are willing to share fall leaves with scholars who want to rake and use them to put the gardens to bed. It takes fundraising to maintain a F2S garden program. The local community cares and will show up to volunteer outdoors. Volunteers have great ideas. Volunteers will help provide supplies, even sharing bulbs to plant with another school half way across town. Parents want to be a part of garden education and will commit to tending plants with their families all summer long!

Personally, I have grown to understand that schoolyard gardens have a dramatically impactful potential to make a bold difference in the elementary school learning environment. The process of establishing schoolyard gardens changes the academic perspectives and climate of the school community. Through working together collaboratively, scholars, parents, administrators, education on all levels, and dedicated community members have the capacity to plan, build, plant, maintain, harvest and eventually consume fresh fruits and vegetables as close to locally as is possible. When well tended, the outdoor education space grows into an aesthetically beautiful and calming place scholars can safely explore the origin of foods through the personal responsibility of intimately caring for plants and their environment. These experiences provided the foundational seeds which lead to even deeper understandings of personal and community health and well-being for all involved.
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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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