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Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch Brings Locally Grown Produce To Madison Schools

With childhood obesity on the rise, parents are paying more attention to what their children eat at school. The Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch project is working with Chavez, Lincoln and Shorewood Elementary Schools in Madison to bring fresh, locally grown produce to school lunchrooms-which should please both parents and kids.

These three schools, which were recently selected as pilot schools for the Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch project, will kick off the project with spring picnics. Locally grown produce will be featured in homegrown salads and “mystery muffins” that will be prepared by the Madison Metropolitan School District Food Service. Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch project staff, volunteers and a farmer will be at each picnic to serve the featured items and talk with students, parents and teachers.

“We hope that the students will learn to love the taste of fresh, local produce,” said project coordinator Sara Tedeschi. “We want the kids to experience for themselves that fresh vegetables and fruit really are good, in addition to being good for you.”

The picnics will be held over the next few weeks:

o Lincoln: Tuesday, May 27th at 6:30 p.m. (at Midvale Elementary School)
o Shorewood: Wednesday, May 28th during the school lunch period
o Chavez: Thursday, June 5th during the school lunch period

In addition to the picnics, each student in the pilot schools will pot up and bring home a cherry tomato seedling. The students will be encouraged to water and care for their seedlings, and share their tomatoes with their families at the end of the summer. Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch is working with teachers and farmer Judy Hageman to provide these seedlings to the students.

“Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch is very excited to work with these three diverse schools,” said Tedeschi. “Each school offers many strengths to the project-the greatest among them being the enthusiastic students, teachers, parents and principals.”

Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch is a joint project of REAP Food Group and the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. For more information about the project, go to the REAP Group or contact Sara Tedeschi at (608) 263-6064.