Dane County awards grants to help local food organizations

(Anna Bizon | KTVF)
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced ten local agencies who were selected to receive the Tamara D. Grigsby Office of Equity and Inclusion’s 2022 Partners in Equity (PIE) Food Grant.

In total, $20,000 will be divided among the recipients. This year’s recipients were decided on proposals intending to address issues related to healthy food access, access to land for growing produce, and issues related to food waste and discovery, according to the news release.

“We thank this year’s grant recipients for developing innovative food programs that strive to achieve greater equity in our community. By supporting these efforts, we increase opportunity and lift our community up,” said Parisi.

Twenty-three applications were received for this grant during the application period.

The PIE Food Grant was created to encourage the innovative development of projects that advance equity and access in local food systems throughout Dane County by providing educational and outreach services.

The 2022 PIE Grants Recipients are:

Cambridge Farm to School - $450

The funds from this grant will allow the Farm to School program to purchase three 160-gallon compost bins made from recycled material to be set at Cambridge Elementary School, helping with their sustainability of the recycle-compost program. Students will be able to learn about the whole composting cycle.

Aldo Leopold Foundation - $535

The funds will purchase fruit trees and needed supplies for maintaining fruit production. Fruit produced at the garden will be donated along with vegetables to the on-site food pantry or at community events.

Cambridge School District - $951

This money will help the school district’s goal of increasing the size of their vegetable garden from 12 raised beds to 36 beds over the coming year. The students take care of the gardens through the growing season and all produce is donated to the Cambridge Food Pantry or eaten by the students.

Youth Empowerment Initiatives - $1,064

This project will save food businesses time and money by making high quality, fresh produce available in Dane County.

Mission Nutrition - $2,000

Funding from this grant will allow this DeForest based program to upgrade its current written registration system to a technological one.

Boys and Girls Club of Dane County - $2,000

The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County is seeking funding to implement a Culinary Education Pilot Program at its Taft Street Club in Madison.

River Food Pantry - $2,000

This grant will support an expansion of services to under-resourced communities on the south side and beyond in Madison. The River Food Pantry currently expands food access by providing nutritional lunches to children and adults in ten low-income neighborhoods on days when school cafeterias are not operating, Monday through Saturday, through its mobile lunch program (Munch). Current Munch routes focus on communities on Madison’s north and east sides.

Restorative Garden - $3,500

The project will work with at-risk teens who can help with a large garden. The acre-plus sized garden is located between McFarland and Stoughton. The landowner has donated tons of produce over the last 15+ years to food pantries. Restorative Garden will collaborate with Dane County Human Services (DCHS) to utilize teens with court-ordered community service to assist with the garden.

Groundswell Conservancy - $3,500

The purpose of this project is to provide access to gardening, a therapeutic antidote to HMoob (Hmong) elders living with PTSD, depression, and dementia. Gardening is a lifelong activity for many HMoob (Hmong) elders, something they learned as children. Such skills are resistant to memory loss and dementia. Gardening as a group reduces social isolation. Being able to feed the family contributes to a sense of worth and gets people out in nature.

Connecting the Dots - $4,000

Connecting the Dots seeks to advance health equity and address social determinants of health by providing street outreach and community events that align health promotion with community engagement. Connect the Dots wants to provide daily meals to unsheltered individuals where they seek refuge.

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