February 2023: Celebrating Black History Month
Dear Wisconsin Farm to School and ECE Community,

Happy February! We’ve made it through the darkest days of winter, and spring is just around the corner. We hope everyone is staying warm and cozy. It’s time to dream of this year’s gardens and get those seed orders in if you haven’t already. 

In honor of Black History Month, we want to share a story of resistance that grew into one of the most robust public health programs in our nation – the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast program. Without the radical, community-based survival program started by the Panthers, our public school meal service would not exist as we know it today. Though the Panthers met with violent resistance from federal and municipal officials, their efforts to feed children in poverty surpassed public programs at the time and were eventually adapted into a nation-wide initiative.

"While Hoover’s efforts eventually broke up the Black Panther’s program, America’s schoolchildren grew accustomed to eating free breakfast. So in 1975, “the School Breakfast Program was permanently authorized.” And it’s essential to acknowledge that “without the radical actions of the Black Panthers, it may never have happened.”"

You can read the full article here.

While Hoover’s efforts eventually broke up the Black Panther’s program, America’s schoolchildren grew accustomed to eating free breakfast. So in 1975, “the School Breakfast Program was perman
ently authorized.” And it’s essential to acknowledge that “without the radical actions of the Black Panthers, it may never have happened.”

ring this month of celebration and reflection, we encourage you to learn more about the impressive mutual aid and community organizing efforts initiated by Black Americans under some of the most oppressive conditions in history. They lay the foundations for the backbone of current food security projects, including CSA farms, cooperatives, and urban gardens. 

May brighter days find us as spring returns,

Hawthorn McCracken
Early Care Garden Support Specialist, Rooted

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

Register now for Wisconsin Chili Lunch

Join schools, hospitals, early care sites, and more to celebrate all Wisconsin has to offer by using WI-grown products to make your Wisconsin Chili Lunch. The Wisconsin Chili Lunch is another great way to build strong communities, grow healthy eaters, support local farmers, and develop local food purchasing connections. 

When you register for the event you will receive a Wisconsin Chili Lunch guide to help you find local products and plan your Wisconsin Chili Lunch.

Learn more and register here!

New, ECE-focused version of the Teaching in Nature's Classroom course

Since 2020, the Teaching in Nature’s Classroom Course has offered a learning community for educators working with children of any age to learn with and from each other. We are excited to announce that we will now be offering a version of the course that is specifically for early care and education (ECE) providers. This new version will include all of the same assignments, materials, and networking opportunities with modifications to address the unique needs of the early care environment. If you are an early care provider, you are invited to register for either course. The ECE version of the course will be offered at the same time as the original course, from February 13 – May 30, 2023. If you have questions, please reach out to Erica Krug at

Learn more here!

Wisconsin School Garden Day 2023

The 5th annual Wisconsin School Garden Day is coming up on May 18, 2023. It's never too early to think about how to celebrate! Wisconsin remains the only state with our own day to celebrate the people and places offering garden-based learning opportunities to thousands of kids. Check out the link for more information and activity ideas.
Learn more 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 Director of Youth Garden Support Erica Krug at
Joke of the Month: Why did the farmer want to bury all of his money?
Tools & Resources

Kids Gardening: Seeds of Success Toolkit

Design, grow, and maintain an edible school garden as a dynamic teaching space! Download the free Seeds of Success Toolkit. View resource.

Apply to be a Host Site for DPI AmeriCorps Farm to School Program 

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is accepting applications for new partner sites across Wisconsin for the 2023-2024 grant year. Notice of intent to apply due by March 17. Apply here.

Wisconsin DATCP Farm to School Advisory Council Releases 2020-2022 Annual Report Local Foods Database

The report highlights how farm to school programs adapted to serve communities through the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to community resiliency and providing educational and engagement activities and nutrition from local farmers throughout the state. View the report here. 

Stomp, Sniff, Snack! 

This new resource from Rooted covers edible and sensory plants that are play-yard friendly. These plants are ideal for ECE outdoor spaces and school gardens, as well as home landscaping. They are all non-toxic and safe for little ones to taste, as well as being hardy enough to stand up to foot traffic and play. View resource.

Webinars, Conferences, Events & Trainings
Rooted Workshops: Black History Month
February Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. // Virtual
Sunday, Feb. 12: Tour of Creator's Cottage - Catrina Sparkman (Author)
Tuesday Feb. 14: Mock Fried Chicken w/ Oyster Mushrooms - Kim Fruin (FarmHer Greens)
Sunday Feb. 19: Supporting Healthy Black Agriculture Program - Ruthanna Hutton-Okpalaeke (Urban Triage)
Tuesday Feb. 21: Honey Hair Moisturizer - Renesha Carter (Rooted)
Sunday Feb. 26: "We Eat to Remember: Soul Food Poetry" - Fabu Carter (Poet Fabu)
Tuesday Feb. 28: Food to Support Pregnancy - Charisse Johnson (Harambee Village Doulas) 
Attend live or stream later on Facebook.

Teaching in Nature's Classroom: Free Online Course for Educators
February 13 - May 30, 2023 // Virtual
For the first time ever, the Teaching in Nature's Classroom course will be offered in its original form and as a special version for early care workers. This course is an opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field, to consider best practices and reflect on their own teaching practice in outdoor learning environments, with a focus on school and community youth gardens. The coursework is designed to be flexible and self-directed so you can fulfill the course requirements according to your optimal timeframe and in relation to your concurrent teaching duties and other obligations. Learn more.

Growing School Gardens Summit Webinar Series: Decolonizing Garden Education 
February 15, 2023, 1:00 pm CST// Virtual
Hear how one small school garden nonprofit explores new initiatives to center equity and inclusion by facilitating BIPOC farm partnerships, incorporating Indigenous knowledge frameworks, diversifying staffing, and prioritizing professional development focused on uprooting white supremacy constructs. Learn more.

Kids Gardening Community Chat: Making Curricular Connections in School Gardens
February 21, 2023, 2:00 pm CST// Virtual
Integrating a school garden with curriculum is a great way to gain staff and administration support and ensure the garden’s sustainability as a vital teaching tool! Join this Community Chat to ask your questions and share ideas about all things related to making curricular connections in school gardens and other ways to increase buy-in within a school. Learn more.

Wisconsin Head Start Association Annual Conference
February 27- March 1, 2023 // Wisconsin Dells, WI
Wisconsin Head Start Association is hosting the 21st annual training conference titled REFRESH, RENEW, REFOCUS. This theme references the need for every Head Start student, parent and staff member to slow down and regroup after a difficult few years. Join your colleagues and the parents you serve in a relaxingly educational experience that will hopefully leave us all feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle this important work.  Learn more.

DPI Lifecycle of Farm to School - Composting Workshop
March 2, 2023, 1:30- 4:00 pm CST // Virtual
During this workshop you will learn about the available compost systems, the ideal conditions for composting, and how to establish partnerships in your school.  Learn more.

Funding Opportunities
GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant
Deadline: February 10, 2023
In 2023, 160 programs will receive $500 - $1,500 in funding. Applicants must be planning to use the funds to install new or improve existing youth gardens or greenspaces. Esta subvención también está disponible en español. Learn more here.
Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant Program
Deadline: March 1, 2023
Kids who grow veggies, eat veggies, so school gardens can make a big difference. Through our Garden Grant program, schools and non-profit organizations turn outdoor spaces into powerful hands-on learning gardens that connect kids with food, spark their curiosity and support classroom curriculum. Learn more here.
Wisconsin Pollinator Habitat Kits
Deadline: March 6, 2023
The Xerces Society is offering free habitat kits that contain native milkweed and pollinator-friendly wildflowers to Wisconsin farmers and community partners who are excited to provide the land, time, and labor to develop and manage a habitat project. Learn more here.
Green Team Mini-Grants
Deadline: March 13, 2023
KEEP offers mini-grants to student teams that wish to reduce the carbon footprint of their school community. Each team will have a unique path toward sustainability, and each team is on a different part of the journey.  Learn more here.
State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (SPAN 2023)
Deadline: March 28, 2023
CDC announces the availability of fiscal year 2023 funds to implement CDC-RFA-DP-23-0012: The State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (SPAN 2023). This program works at the state level to implement evidence-based nutrition and physical activity strategies that address health disparities related to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and/or obesity. Informational call will be hosted February 15, 2023 at 3pm EST. Learn more here.
Job Opportunities
FairShare CSA Coalition Seeks Executive Director and Program Intern
Deadline: ongoing
FairShare is seeking an Executive Director to build on the successful growth of the organization and steer the next phase of organizational growth, including a new strategic plan with a vision for supporting an evolving small-scale farming landscape. Core responsibilities for this role include: organizational leadership and management, revenue generation, prudent fiscal management, relationship development and management, and centering equity in decision-making. Learn more and apply here. 
UW Center for Cooperatives Administrative Specialist
Deadline: February 27, 2023
The UW Center for Cooperatives is seeking an administrative specialist to support our research, education, and outreach programs. The administrative specialist will assist UWCC's Outreach Program Manager with delivering conferences and trainings, communicating with stakeholders, maintaining administrative and financial systems, and evaluating the impact of our work. Learn more and apply here. 
News & Inspiration

The Hidden Teaching of Gardens

“The Hidden Teaching of Gardens” is a personal essay by Deja Curtis that explores the healing elements of working with the land, and the personal impact of building holistic sustainability through caring for a community garden.  Read more.

Celebrating Black History Month with 10 Groundbreaking Black Food Activists 

During this month NYC Food Policy is highlighting ten incredible Black individuals (chefs, farmers, educators, and community activists)  from across the country who are making an impact within their own communities. They are ‘crafting powerful narratives around food and sustainability and fighting for community-based approaches to food policy that connect race and culture to our food system.’ Read more here.
Feature Story
If you would like to share a story about your program with Wisconsin's farm to school community, please email
Have a question or feedback about the newsletter?
Email us at
Subscribe to this newsletter here:

Copyright © 2023, 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.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.