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Training series to help farmers sell local food to Wisconsin schools

Farmers interested in selling their products to K-12 schools and early care sites are encouraged to attend “Know Your Buyer, Know Your Supplier” trainings across Wisconsin in August. Participants in this farm to institution training series will learn about new marketing opportunities while networking with local buyers.

“We’re excited for this opportunity to provide more advanced technical assistance on farm to institution, while helping growers and food service providers across Wisconsin make new connections,” said Vanessa Herald, Farm to Institution Outreach Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

Five day-long trainings will take place in Viroqua (August 8), Janesville (August 14), Green Bay (August 15), Eagle River (August 17) and Wausau (August 22). Each training will be hosted by local partners and will include information about finding, buying and serving Wisconsin-grown food in cafeteria settings.

Panels of local experts featuring food service staff, farmers and community partners will share on-the-ground success stories. Afternoons will include meet-and-greet events for food service staff, local farmers, distributors and food processors.

“The best part about these trainings is we get to focus on bringing healthy, local foods to Wisconsin’s youngest eaters,” said Beth Hanna, Farm to School Director at Community GroundWorks. “This is a great opportunity for farmers to meet early childhood professionals who want to purchase, prepare and serve locally grown foods and meet the local growers making those foods available.”

Funded through a USDA Farm to School Training Grant, this training series is coordinated by the Wisconsin Farm to School Steering Committee: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, Community GroundWorks, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

More information and online registration are available at www.cias.wisc.edu/kybkys. For more information, contact Vanessa Herald at (608) 263-6064 or vherald@wisc.edu.

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