In early 2018, Food, Faith and Farming Network held a series of listening/networking sessions with farmers and community members in Southwestern Wisconsin. The sessions resulted in the Network establishing a Seed Money Initiative to support projects that address issues raised in the sessions. In this our fifth year, we are supporting 10 innovative projects in SW Wisconsin. We thank the Sinsinawa Dominicans, Compeer Financial and Wisconsin Farmers Union and our individual donors for funding our SW Wisconsin grants.
In addition, this year we held Listening Sessions in Southeastern Wisconsin where we encouraged participants to apply for Seed Money funding. We received many exciting project applications and awarded 12 grants in SE Wisconsin. We thank Bader Philanthropies, Inc. for funding both our Listening Sessions and our Seed Money grants in and around Milwaukee.
Descriptions of this year's projects, are listed below starting with a statement of the goals for each area. Projects funded in previous years are also described below. Interested in learning more about our Seed Money Projects and our application process? Contact Linda Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anderson Park Friends, Inc. (APF), Oregon, WI operates a food pantry garden that serves three pantries in Oregon, Belleville, and Verona. The 501c3 organization serves low-income households and senior citizens with fresh produce. The 2022 garden included 22 varieties of vegetables totaling over 3,900 pounds. The goal for 2023 is 4,400 pounds. Seed Money will enable APF to purchase specialized seed-sowing tools so seeds can be planted closer together. More vegetables will increase the number of meals with fresh produce. Volunteers will benefit due to the reduced time it takes to plant seeds in the quarter-acre garden. Agriculture is one of the focus areas for APF along with forest restoration, building prairies, creating wildlife habitat, and educational programs for K-12 students. www.andersonparkfriends.org
Heartland Threads seeks to create a network of producers and users of local and regenerative fibers and textiles in SW Wisconsin. Seed money will be used to further that mission by educating the community on the environmental impacts of synthetic fibers and creating awareness of local alternatives provided by regenerative fiber farmers; hosting fiber farm/producer tours and community building events that foster collaboration between local producers and users; and increasing community outreach to raise consumer awareness of the environmental, health, and social benefits of locally produced natural fiber and textile production. https://heartlandthreads.org/
The Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens (MAFPG) network of ten gardens provides over 100,000 pounds of fresh, first choice, and culturally relevant produce to local food pantries and emergency food programs throughout Dane County. Seed Money will expand the composting operation at Forward Garden, MAFPG’s newest and largest site, located at the Pope Farm Homestead in Verona. This initiative will enable MAFPG to collect pre-consumer food scraps from local restaurants and use them to generate high-quality compost that will improve soil health and productivity. This project will reduce food waste in the landfill while improving the quality and quantity of fruits and vegetables grown at Forward Garden. https://foodpantrygardens.org
The Crawford Stewardship Project will work with North Crawford Schools to establish a rotational grazing project for sheep in a pasture behind the school, thus creating an educational opportunity for teachers and students in the district. They will begin with the Agricultural Education program, then expand to include Tech Ed, Science, Economics and elementary education over time. Goals include: fostering regenerative farming, stewarding precious land and water and creating a new generation of farmers in the area. https://www.crawfordstewardship.org
REAP Food Group, based in Dane County, has a mission to transform communities, economies and lives through the power of good food. They are committed to efforts that strengthen food security and rebuild local supply chains, support sustainable small and mid-sized Wisconsin farms, connect rural and urban communities, and ensure that equitable power and inclusive voices shape access to good food in Dane County and statewide. REAP Food Group, in partnership with Roots4Change, have created the Farms2Families program that purchases locally raised and culturally appropriate food from local farmers and redistributes Resilience Boxes to Latino families. Support from Food, Faith and Farming Network will help meet the rising costs of food and storage and enable Farm2Families to continue supporting families with bi-weekly Resilience Box deliveries through the end of the growing season, November 20, 2023. https://www.reapfoodgroup.org/farms-to-families-2/
Grace Lutheran Church in Dodgeville will provide the garden space for two 4-H clubs in a project that provides local produce for families, the local food pantry, and a weekly feeding program in the community. The Iowa County 4-H Educator and the 4-H gardening project materials will serve as resources for the project and some of the produce will be shown at the county fair. The project will introduce the youth to gardening, including how to grow their own vegetables, when to harvest produce, and how to integrate fresh produce in their daily diets.
Food insecurity is a problem for elderly individuals on fixed income and young families with low incomes. Seed Money will be used to double the value of food vouchers, which will be used by seniors on fixed incomes and young families with limited incomes to purchase eggs, meat, and bakery items that they might not be able to afford otherwise. The Dodgeville Chamber of Commerce is co-sponsoring this effort with the Market. It will be promoted through the SUN Program, ADRC, Headstart, the WIC coordinator, Food Pantry, UW Extension and Social Services. https://www.facebook.com/dodgevillefarmersmarket/
The Sacred Water Sacred Land Institute seeks to build an indigenous food sovereignty movement by providing access to land, equipment, and pre-colonial indigenous foods, including beans, corn and squash. The project will provide access to land and equipment for tribal members, provide crops/foods for native chefs and provide instruction in native food processing. Ho Chunk leaders – chef, organic farmer, and garden manager—will be partners in this initiative to create an indigenous food sovereignty network.
In 2022 Prairie du Chien instituted a Thursday Night Farmers Market, which was very successful because it was combined with Thursday evening concerts in the community. Their goal is to increase vendors and marketing to make the Thursday night markets even more successful with the increased sale of local foods. They also hope to involve youth as vendors and customers. Seed Money will enable them to expand their publicity for the market: purchase signage and a banner; do radio ads and direct mailings to businesses; and use social media with a vendor focus. https://www.facebook.com/pdcthursdaynightfarmersmarket/
McIntosh Memorial Library of Viroqua established an educational and equitable donation garden in April of 2021. The garden serves as a learning space for Wisconsin Master gardeners to instruct people of all ages about gardening techniques, permaculture, and naturalist approaches to agriculture. The produce which is grown is donated to low-income housing units, thus affecting change to local fresh food insecurity. Seed Money will be utilized to develop a seed bank, seating, and a Story Walk. The Story Walk will promote illustrated children’s books which describe reverence of our sacred lands and waters. Story Walks are nationally known for the development of literature in natural, open spaces inviting all to read and be inspired! http://mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org/
Past Southwestern Wisconsin Seed Money Grants were awarded to:
Southwest Driftless Grasslands Landowner(s) Matters Campaign
Crawford County Markets Grow at Gays Mills and Prairie du Chien Farmers Markets
Boscobel Farmers Market voucher system for low income residents
Wormfarm Institute Farm Aid Music Festival interactive art project
Hill and Valley Exploration Tour
Dodgeville Farmers Market vouchers to help those in financial need
Grant County Rural Stewardship educational programs for farmers
Prairie Street Farmers Market promotions
Residency on the Farm for artists in Lafayette County
Sauk County Conservation Network website searchable directory for member organizations
Southern Driftless Grasslands educational materials
Stronger Together Farmer Suicide Prevention Project to address farmer suicides and stress
Community Kitchen Locally Sourced Meals & Groceries
Farmer Angel Network community programming for farmers
Prairie du Chien Thursday Night Farmers Market
Iowa County Community Teaching Garden Kits with Plymouth UCC and Grace Lutheran
Pecitibuca Pride Water Action Volunteer Stream Monitoring
Raised Garden Greenhouse at MAA Wakacak
Southern Wisconsin Meat Cooperative
Promoting Rye Revival in Southwestern Wisconsin
The goal for SE Wisconsin Seed Money projects is to help build vibrant rural/urban connections with a focus on local foods, sustainable farming and food security. This initiative, funded by Bader Philanthropies, seeks to reduce the rift between rural and urban communities.
Kinship Community Food Center’s Urban Farm is expanding its composting capacity in an effort to reduce local food waste from the food center and larger urban community. We, as do other food sites, often receive donated produce that already has gone bad or will rot before it can be distributed. The Kinship Urban Farm currently houses a large compost pile which is used to break down all the rotted produce from the food center to turn it into rich soil. With the addition of some basic solar composting and aeration equipment made possible by this grant, Kinship will further increase its capacity to process its organic waste as well as expand composting access to volunteers, shoppers, and neighborhood members in the community who do not have the space for effective composting, at no cost to them. Kinship’s GROW program is a 27,000 square foot urban hoop house vegetable farm where neighbors harvest nearly 12,000 pounds of organic produce annually to feed the hungry, host educational events, and share community meals. More information about our food center or urban farm can be found on our website at https://www.kinshipmke.org/
The Community Garden Ministry at Norway Lutheran Church in Wind Lake will collaborate with the Norway 4H to build raised beds to enhance our in-ground garden and make gardening accessible to our members with mobility concerns. These garden boxes will give our 65+ group the continued ability to garden on a manageable scale, connect our young people to the food they eat, and build positive inter-generational relationships. Harvests from the raised beds will be added to the produce we distribute to our Helping Hands Food Pantry.
The School District of Waukesha's Environmental Education Program, in partnership with our Family and Consumer Science culinary classes, will be purchasing sustainable indoor garden systems for all three high schools; providing direct coaching support for the classroom teachers on sustainable growing and gardening; and building community connections with other local farms, master gardeners, and restaurants. The ultimate goal is that this is not only ecologically sustainable, but financially sustainable for our schools and community.
FoodRight is building edible gardens at the youth-based organization, New Beginnings Are Possible (NBAP). Working with NBAP’s summer camp program, the gardens will serve as the site for fun, hands-on garden-based nutrition education programming, addressing the lack of access to fresh foods for low-income youth in Milwaukee while fostering appreciation for the land and the work of farmers. The gardens will also serve as a test site for developing viable school gardens. https://www.foodright.org
Utilizing the Catholic Ecology Center facilities and Clare Gardens Organic Farm on-site, we will teach a series of 3 programs open to the public throughout the 2023 growing/harvest season. We will focus on sustainable growing practices and how to do this in your personal and local settings. This includes how to farm organically at any scale and how to compost food waste. The programs will take place on Saturday May 6, Saturday, July 22 and Saturday Sept 9, capitalizing on the key times for preparing/planting, maintaining/harvesting and harvesting/Fall prep. Open to all ages and experience levels. https://catholicecologycenter.org
Riveredge’s mission is to support conservation through education that awakens curiosity, engages the body, and explores connections to nature for all generations. In 2022, we launched Growing Green as part of our mission to provide education supporting nature-rich lifestyles, promoting regenerative actions in alignment with community needs and the land. Through this series, we host educational programs and service-learning opportunities. These include native landscape design classes, soil health and composting classes, seasonal herb walks, shiitake mushroom inoculation workshop, and tours of local farms, among others. We welcome our community to learn through earth-minded interactions with native and edible landscapes. https://www.riveredgenaturecenter.org
Growing Green Gardens Network is building upon our 2022 project, Let’s Get Growing. We will expand access to urban farmers and work to build relationships between rural producers and Milwaukee communities facing food insecurities. In our teaching gardens, youth and adults participate in hands-on farming/gardening and conservation education. They will be able to grow healthy foods of cultural relevance with the assistance of skilled gardeners. With our community partners, Alice’s Garden Urban Farm, Fondy Food Market, UW Extension, Five Star Educational Training Center and Lynn Precious Moments Childcare, GGGN will expand our outdoor classrooms in Milwaukee County from 1 to 3. Our partner, Five Star Community Resource Center, has graciously provided GGGN with an indoor classroom, in addition to outdoor garden space where food will be grown for community donation. Neema Therapy has partnered with us offering Art Therapy in the garden. We are looking forward to what the 2023 growing season delivers in Milwaukee. Healthy food, healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy land, and healthy relationships are ahead. Let’s Get Growing! Growinggreengarderns.email@example.com
Nourish Farm's Good Food Club program, in partnership with the Sheboygan Falls School District, offers experiential education to students that weaves together important life skills and core standards of education such as math, science, biology, literacy, social studies, and health with the simple act of eating. Specifically, Good Food Club will teach kids how to plant, harvest, cook, and eat whole foods. Through Good Food Club students, parents, and teachers alike receive education regarding local food systems and producers and the benefits of eating locally grown, seasonal food. https://nourishfarms.org/farm-to-school
The Eco-Justice Center is an environmental education center and organic farm in northern Racine County. Eco-J’s Farm Corps Program currently donates at least 30% of the yearly harvest to the North Side Food Pantry and will work to form relationships with additional local organizations. In addition to donating to new partners, the program seeks to help food insecurity through the following: growing food, educating interns regarding food insecurity, decreasing our food waste, and educating consumers about the donated produce. https://ecojusticecenter.org/
REKO (pronounced wreak-o) is a Facebook-based pre-ordering system for local products, including farmed produce, meat, and other agricultural goods. The REKO ring will utilize the grant money to encourage growth and consumer participation in the group. First, we will create a streamlined graphic design branding toolkit to communicate with our consumers about deadlines, pick-up details, and to welcome new members. Second, we will also use the money to create a short video animation illustrating how the REKO ring works. This will help new consumers to quickly understand how the group works and jump right into placing an order with our local farmers. Thirdly, we hope to promote the group by awarding prizes to our consumers for their participation in our group during our anniversary month of May. https://www.foodforvictory.com/reko-ring
First started in 2020 as a collaboration between Tall Pines Conservancy (TPC) and Farmers for Lake Country (FFLC), the Chaos Garden program has connected community members with local area farmland and farmers with a “free pick” garden plot. Short-season vegetable crops are sown into a field following wheat harvest in August and include spinach, kale, bush beans, peas, lettuce and bok choy, as well as edible flowers. In keeping with the true spirit of “chaos gardening,” watering is performed by Mother Nature and whatever nature supports as its bounty is free for anyone to harvest. Thanks to generous support from the Food, Faith and Farming Network, the Chaos Garden will expand its size and outreach for 2023, providing fresh, healthy, and free food to the greater community. For updates and more information please visit https://tallpinesconservancy.org or https://farmersforlakecountry.org
Tricklebee Café is a pay-what-you-can community cafe in Milwaukee that offers healthy meals, food service training, and spiritual nourishment. This summer, we will hire inner city youth from our neighborhood to do "herbin" gardening. We'll fill our newly constructed garden bed and bus stop garden planter with soil, and then plant herbs from seed. The youth will then water, weed, and harvest the gardens throughout the growing season. In addition to harvesting the herbs to dry and use in our ever-changing cafe recipes, we will also give out organic seed packets to neighbors so they can grow their own herbs and vegetables. http://tricklebeecafe.org/