This map illustrates the 2014 funded grant projects by category.
Click on the map to view a larger map and click on the drop pins for information on each project.
2014 Funded Project Descriptions
- Richland County Non-Traditional 4-H Club and Richland Middle School Garden
- Rock County Container Gardening Project
- Creating a Southside Community Garden in Eau Claire
- Iron County Youth Garden to Market Program
- Barron Community Garden Readiness Assessment
Richland County Non-Traditional 4-H Club and Richland Middle School Garden
Richland County is an economically distressed county with 59% of the Richland Middle School students below the poverty level. From 2004-
2006, it was found that 75% of Richland County adults were overweight, making Richland County the most overweight county in Wisconsin. (Behavioral Risks Factor Surveillance Survey)
As a result of these statistics, Richland Fit was started with grant funding and is a local movement that focuses on the health of our citizens and encourages more activities and education about health, food, and physical fitness for all ages. To go along with these efforts, the Richland Middle School Non-Traditional 4-H program has a goal to give young people a hands-on learning environment through the school garden in order to teach them practical life skills.
The Richland Middle School Non-Traditional 4-H program will be beginning this fall with their kick off meeting in September. The goal is to encourage and involve low income, at-risk youth who come from families with food insecurities and an increased propensity of childhood obesity. This will be done with hands-on learning opportunities in the garden, harvesting produce, working in the kitchen to learn food preparation techniques, reading recipes, and preparing food (ideally from produce from the garden). The purpose of the club will also provide leadership opportunities for the young people as they lead club meetings, engage in local programs, give oral presentations/demonstrations, and become more involved within the community that they live. The overall goal is to empower students to make healthier life choices and decisions through their actions, diet, and activities.
The Rock County Container Garden Project will provide container gardens to underserved families within Rock County. Individual containers, complete with soil and plant, will be provided to each family interested in participating in the project.
Using containers provides an easy, mess-free way to begin garden as containers can be used anywhere there is sunlight, and all materials will be provided. Tomatoes or peppers will be offered to participants, which are easy to grow vegetables determined to be of the highest nutritional value and most likeliness of being consumed.
Christy Marsden, UW-Extension Horticulture Educator, will educate recipients on proper care for containers to ensure production. Shana Leith, UW-Extension Nutrition Educator, will provide hands-on nutritional education lessons, including use of container garden produce, through educational home-visits conducted as a part of the Nutrition Education Program. Shana will also provide educational materials about using EBT and Food Share at the Farmers Market. Christy will prepare and assemble containers with support of the Rock County Master Gardener Volunteer program.
Creating a Southside Community Garden in Eau Claire
Eau Claire County UW-Extension will use grant funds to establish a new community rental garden in Eau Claire. This garden will provide a space for dozens of residents of Eau Claire’s Southside neighborhood to grow their own food – many for the first time.
The demand for community gardening in Eau Claire shows no signs of slowing. In 2013, over 250 residents rented space in our city to grow food, and garden membership waiting lists are common. Eau Claire’s four existing community gardens are rented by a wide cross-section of neighborhood residents. These spaces serve as a place for neighbors to grow their own food and form community connections by sharing gardening tips and produce with each other.
Many important factors have converged to make Spring 2015 the ideal time to establish this community garden. This project was initiated once before. In 2012, a grassroots citizen group organized to establish the garden, but a small and vocal minority objected due to perceived messiness of community gardens. These concerns unfortunately caused the Eau Claire City Council to “table” the decision. This grant opportunity started the conversations going again.
We plan to address the issues raised in 2012 in the following ways:
1. We have a strong group of local garden advocates who worked on this project in 2012 and who are still interested in helping establish this garden. These garden advocates will make sure that the community understands that this will be a well-kept-up and maintained property.
2. Chippewa Valley Community Television (CVCTV) has offered to record and televise the process of creating this garden as a new television series. It will help others learn how to create a community garden “from the ground up,” televising everything from working with local stakeholders to site selection and development. The television series will also educate community members about the importance of community gardens and sustainable local food systems, while dispelling misconceptions surrounding community gardens.
The Garden to Market is a collaborative effort to engage young people in revitalizing a local farmers market while learning about small scale agriculture and similar economic opportunities through horticulture education, farm tours, and vending at the Iron County Farmers Market.
The intention of Garden to Market is to provide a service learning program for youth in grades 5-8 that allows them to gain knowledge and experience in such areas as leadership, gardening, marketing, design, and money management as they build awareness and solutions for local food security and systems.
Garden to Market’s objective is accomplished by working with youth in the local school garden and the farmers market, visiting other community/school gardens, farms and markets, and preparing food to be served in the school lunch.
In Barron County, 12% of the population is currently considered food insecure. Food insecurity has risen in the last decade, as evidenced by FoodShare participants increasing from 2,905 in 2000 to 9,070 in 2010. Food insecurity can have an especially detrimental impact on children. Consistently hungry children become more susceptible to illnesses and infections, as well as have a greater risk for deficits in cognitive development and academic achievement. There are currently 2,180 food insecure children in Barron County.
One contributing factor of food insecurity is the inability to grow one’s own food. This specific issue can be addressed by introducing community gardens into areas with high food insecurity. However, before a community garden can be created the situation must first be assessed. It follows that if community members are not interested in or desiring of a community garden then the project will prove wasteful and unfulfilling.
The City of Barron will be the location for a pilot community garden assessment program led by a coalition formed by UW-Extension and partnering organizations.
The stated goals of the project are to: 1) Increase awareness of food insecurity in Barron County, and 2) assess the community readiness for a community garden. To meet these goals, there will be several classes, programs, and resources to ensure that education on food insecurity is taking place, while community readiness is also being assessed. There will be cooking classes offered, teaching community members how to use locally grown ingredients. During these classes the interest of participants to want to grow their own food will be evaluated.
 Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap, Overall Food Insecurity Rate (2012)
 WI Food Security Project, www.foodsecurity.wisc.edu (2012)
 Poverty Matters: The Cost of Child Poverty in America (Washington, D.C.: Children’s Defense Fund, 1997)
 Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap, Child Food Insecurity Rate (2012)