Monroe County Schools on the Go interviewed by NPR La Crosse

Just a fantastic Transform Wisconsin interview on NPR La Crosse with Mary Meehan Strub, Paula Silha (La Crosse County), and Autumn Grooms (Monroe County Schools on the Go)! They talk obesity, tobacco, and polling results. It’s all in there. Great job!

“This polling data shows that people in Western Wisconsin do care about this.” A must listen and victory to have this amount of time (over 20 min.) to talk about what we are all passionate about.

Link :

Tomah students learn first hand where their food comes from

Tomah students learn first hand where their food comes from

Check out this story from Farmer Jake Wedeberg’s visit to Lemonweir Elementary in Tomah! A big thank you to WKBT for stopping out!

The Two Bite Club

The Two Bite Club

This downloadable book from the USDA’s Team Nutrition encourages children to try new foods.

Monroe County Schools on the Go Celebrates Farm to School Month

Monroe County Schools on the Go is celebrating October as Farm to School month with student taste tests, farmer visits to schools and a community and school gardening workshop. 

Students are tasting roasted squash, potatoes and carrots; apple salad; local watermelon, and dried cranberry cherry craisins, among other items. 

Farmer Jake Wedeberg who works on his family’s century farm near Gays Mills, Wis., presented at schools in the three coalition districts Oct. 22 and 24. The farm has been certified organic for 22 years and he and his brother are proud and excited to be fifth generation organic farmers. 

Wedeberg’s interactive presentation included cow milking, a bean bag toss, butter making and taste testing. At Lakeview Elementary in Sparta, he was joined by Farm to School Chef Jason Boris and Community Health Education Specialist Jess Shown for additional taste tests and activities. 

The presentation and taste tastings are part of the coalition’s efforts to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in Monroe County. Through a Transform Wisconsin Food Systems Impact grant,  Monroe County Schools on the go is working to create a sustainable food system by developing and implementing a strong farm to school effort in the Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton school districts.

The school and community garden workshop Oct. 24 at the Barney Center in Sparta was well attended. Beth Hanna from Community GroundWorks led the session and provided insight into the best practices for school and community gardening.Image




School garden workshop Oct. 24 with Beth Hanna from Community GroundWorks

Monroe County Schools on the Go will host a school garden workshop from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Barney Center in Sparta.

Beth Hanna from the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative at Community GroundWorks will lead the training that will include information on garden sustainability and farm to school.

“We are excited to be bringing Beth Hanna to Monroe County. She has great knowledge of creating sustainable school and community gardens and will be able to help us move the projects we have started toward becoming more sustainable,” said Autumn Grooms, project coordinator for Monroe County Schools on the Go. “Having installed school gardens at Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton schools through the Transform Wisconsin grant our coalition received, it is important that we look at ways to maintain them and make sure they are providing educational opportunities into the future.”

Those interested in gardening – especially school and community gardens – are encouraged to attend this free workshop. Please contact Grooms at (608) 269-3151 or email for more information or to register.

The Wisconsin School Garden Initiative is a three-year project of Community GroundWorks, which seeks to employ youth gardening and garden-based education to improve child health outcomes. At the end of the three years, the initiative intends to launch an ongoing Wisconsin School Garden Network as an independent body.

The Wisconsin School Garden Initiative builds off the success of the Got Dirt? Gardening Initiative and is funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Southside students harvest the garden

Kindergarten students at Southside Elementary help to harvest the garden at their school. The children picked enough cherry tomatoes to supply the chef salads with toamtoes for students in K-8.

Monroe County Schools on the Go Releases Healthy Living Poll

Monroe County Schools on the Go today released findings of a public opinion poll gauging attitudes toward healthy living and prevention in Monroe County. The purpose of the poll is to evaluate public support for the efforts of the three school district coalition of Monroe County Schools on the Go to promote healthier places to live, work and play. The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.

“An extensive public opinion poll found that people in Monroe County overwhelmingly agree that tobacco use and childhood obesity are problems in our state,” said Autumn Grooms, project coordinator. “This poll also found a lot of agreement on the actions Wisconsin should take to help improve health where we live, work and play.”

The poll found that Monroe County’s residents agree that youth tobacco use and childhood obesity are serious problems.

• 91 percent of Monroe County voters surveyed think childhood obesity is a serious problem in Wisconsin (36% said it was very serious)
• 71 percent of respondents in Monroe County said they are concerned about youth tobacco use in Wisconsin (35% said they are “very concerned”)

Monroe County Schools on the Go is working to strengthen farm to school efforts in the Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton school districts. During the first year of Transform Wisconsin funding, the coalition started school gardens and began looking at best practices for farm to school in Monroe County. Students were introduced to fresh local produce through a chef visit and continued learning about locally grown fruits and vegetables through the school gardens and take-home seed kits. Community education was provided through local speakers and a variety of education events.

In September, the garden at Southside Elementary School in Sparta supplied cherry tomatoes and tomatoes for chef salads and salad bars throughout the district K-12. Tomah’s garden at Lemonweir Elementary supplied the school lunch line with 10 pounds of kale, 9 pounds of green peppers and 34 pounds of Roma and cherry tomatoes in September. Fresh salsa was made from the garden at the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District and served to elementary students, and tomatoes and peppers have been served on the salad bars.

For more information on Monroe County Schools on the Go, contact Project Coordinator Autumn Grooms at (608) 269-3151 or email

Funded by the CDC’s Community Transformation Grant initiative, Transform Wisconsin is working to make healthy living easier and more affordable where people live, work, learn, and play. The long-term goal of Transform Wisconsin is to reduce chronic diseases in Wisconsin, which account for 75 cents of every dollar spent on health care. Twenty-five counties around the state were awarded 30 Transform Wisconsin grants. For more information, visit:

Students working in Lemonweir School Garden

Students working in Lemonweir School Garden

Tomah Area School District students are tending to the garden at Lemonweir Elementary through a summer school class.

They’ve adopted plants in the garden that they measure and track the growth of and work together to harvest and weed.

Eight-year-old Natalie Renaud has learned a lot about gardening from her father and grandmother but said the class and school garden have allowed her to further hone her skills.

“It’s fun,” said Renaud, who will be in thrid grade this fall. “I like to work outside.”

Among her favorite activities are picking weeds and harvesting produce.

Makayla Riffle, 7, prefers picking vegetables, but says “it’s really all fun.” She will be in second grade this fall.

The week of July 1, students harvested spinach and a jalepeno pepper. They also put cages around tomato plants.

Garden planted at Lemonweir Elementary

Students plant the school garden May 28 at Lemonweir Elementary in Tomah. Among the plants are tomatoes, peppers and a variety of herbs. Image ImageImageImageImage



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