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 agrooms@spartan.org.

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: transformwi.com.