Tomah/Sparta/Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton On the Go today (July 24) announced it is receiving a $160,0000 Transform Wisconsin Impact Grant to promote access to healthy food in Monroe County. The grant will invest in helping Monroe County create a sustainable food system by first developing and implementing a strong farm to school effort in three of our county school districts over the next two-and-a-half years.
“We need to address health before the doctor’s office,” said Jesse Bender, spokesperson for Tomah/Sparta/Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton On the Go and director of food service for the Tomah Area School District. “Together, we will improve our community so that making the choice to eat fresh, healthy local foods is easier for everyone. Schools play a crucial role in making this happen.”
Access to fresh fruits and vegetables is an important part of promoting the health of children and adults. Research shows that more than three-quarters of Wisconsin adults and high school students consume less than recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Promoting a more healthy food system, starting at schools, will support student’s learning and academic success, while boosting business for local farmers.
The Transform Wisconsin funding will allow the three Monroe County school districts to elevate their work to promote physical activity. Tomah/Sparta/Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton On the Go will continue this work, while bringing together new and existing partners to make meaningful, long-term improvements to the health and wellness of this community.
“We have a strong vision of providing kids and families improved access to healthy, nutritious foods and we encourage you to get involved to help make this effort a success,” said Cindy Thesing, coalition member and director of nutrition services for the Sparta Area School District. “We are committed to working together to improve the health and strength of communities throughout Monroe County and we can’t wait to get to work.”
“Improving the health of Monroe County is important to those involved in this project and will remain a priority,” said Maureen Luxton, coalition member and director of food service for the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District. “Educating our children is an integral part of this process.”
Tomah/Sparta/Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton On the Go is one of 30 communities around the state awarded Transform Wisconsin grants in an effort to create healthier places to live, work and play. $6.6 million will be invested over the next 26 months (August 1, 2012 – September 29, 2014) with the goal of creating healthier communities and reducing preventable chronic diseases. Transform Wisconsin is built on the idea that smoke-free air, fresh fruit and vegetables, and safe places to play should be available to everybody. Eight communities, including Monroe county, are receiving Transform Wisconsin grant funding to promote healthy food systems.
The Transform Wisconsin project will directly reach about half the state’s population -- over 2.6 million residents. All across the state, communities will be building on local efforts to improve health by empowering individuals to make healthier choices and preventing chronic disease.
For more information on Transform Wisconsin grants and to sign up to volunteer for this project, please visit www.transformwi.com.