GROW group in La Crosse to use People’s Co-op grant for cultural food lessons at elementary schools
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — GROW, previously known as Grow La Crosse, plans to use a $1,700 grant from the People’s Food Co-op Community Fund to organize cultural food lessons at four area elementary schools this fall.
The program will enlist people from culturally diverse backgrounds to share their knowledge of growing and preparing food. The Coulee Region abounds with expertise in cultures and traditions, including the Hmong, Latino, African-American and Ho-Chunk Nation communities who can teach their techniques.
GROW has been connecting children to healthy food and nature through garden and farm projects since 2012. The organization now maintains more than 2,400 square feet of school gardens on school properties and community sites. It also hosts farm experiences for more than 800 children each year.
The food from GROW’s existing garden beds goes to students through school cafeterias, family volunteers, classroom snacks and taste tests in the garden.
The community fund, an arm of the People’s Food Co-op of La Crosse and Rochester, Minn., also granted $1,700 to the Village Community Garden and Learning Center of Rochester.
The garden/center creates space for diverse Rochester groups to feed themselves and reduce food costs. The garden also fosters opportunities for cross-cultural connections and experiences.
The garden has faced difficulties in past seasons with flooding, lack of tools and hungry deer. Organizers plan to use the grant to tackle the deer issue, exploring fence options and other weed management techniques that will boost the garden’s productivity.
Local university and K-12 students will collaborate on the design and construction of the fence and weed management protocols.
The People’s Food Co-op Community Fund “is an example of living the cooperative principle: cooperation among cooperatives,” People’s CEO Liz Haywood said. “We use collective resources to improve our community and we’ve seen real impacts on people’s lives.
More information on the grant program is on the People’s Food Co-op website www.pfc.coop
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