Farm to School tasting at the Oct. 10 Sparta vs. Tomah football game

Monroe County Schools on the Go will bring a free local vegetable tasting to fans attending the Sparta vs. Tomah football game Friday (Oct. 10) at Memorial Field in Sparta. A station will be set up with staff from both Districts serving Winter Moon Blend from Fifth Season Cooperative of Viroqua, Wis., and providing information on the program that coordinates farm to school efforts for Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton school districts.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and the tasting will go until the end of the first quarter or when it is gone. The game starts at 7 p.m.

“The grant we received from Transform Wisconsin is coming to an end, and we wanted to showcase the work Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton have done by allowing the community to taste a favorite dish of our students that is grown by our local farmers and prepared by our food service staff,” said Autumn Grooms, project coordinator for the grant. “We are proud of the work we have done during this two year time and look forward to continuing to build partnerships that will further develop farm to school programming.”

The blend of butternut squash, carrots, beets and potatoes is roasted and served to students as a side dish.

The Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton school districts were awarded a Transform Wisconsin Food Systems Impact Grant in 2012 and worked to improve nutrition practices and increase fruit and vegetable consumption for Monroe County children. Among the coalition’s accomplishments are installing school gardens, developing a Harvest of the Month program and increasing the amount of local produce on the school breakfast and lunch menu. Farm to school language was also incorporated into a district wellness policy.