Partnership Program Project Receives UW Partnership Award
Madison, Wisconsin - The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s Growing Farm to School project received a 2014 UW-Madison Community-University Partnership Award at the Olin House on June 3.
Funded by a Community-Academic Partnership Fund (CAPF) grant in 2012, the project seeks to improve nutrition and increase physical activity among Wisconsin children.
Three UW-Madison faculty members combined community-based research, outreach and public service as academic partners for the grant to Community GroundWorks, a Madison non-profit organization founded in 2001. Students and teachers are involved in all phases of this inclusive approach that promotes and supports healthy communities.
Participants work with researchers to assess students’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to fruits, vegetables and outdoor physical activity.
Sam Dennis, PhD (College of Agricultural and Life Sciences-Landscape Architecture); Dale Schoeller, PhD (College of Agricultural and Life Sciences-Nutritional Sciences); and Aaron Carrel, MD (School of Medicine and Public Health-Department of Pediatrics); received the award along with Community GroundWorks Education Director Nathan Larson, who leads the project.
Eileen Smith, Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP) director and assistant dean for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and WPP Senior Program Officer Mary Jo Knobloch attended the award ceremony along with Beth Hanna, training and outreach specialist for the Community GroundWorks’ School Garden Initiative.
“Through this project, Drs. Dennis, Schoeller and Carrel embody the Wisconsin Idea of extending the University’s reach across the state,” Smith said in the nomination. “Community GroundWorks believes that a community-academic partnership is essential for addressing childhood obesity and that community-based interventions are effective vehicles for addressing and promoting childhood nutrition and health.”
With support from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and other partners, Community GroundWorks is developing an infrastructure to support youth gardening and garden-based education across the state. Others collaborating on the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative (WSGI) include the Department of Public Instruction; the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; UW-Extension; the State Master Gardener Association; and other UW-Madison faculty and staff.
The Growing Farm to School project builds on previous Wisconsin Partnership Program-funded projects that led to the development of the Got Dirt? toolkit for starting a garden and the Got Veggies? garden-based nutrition education curriculum.
It seeks to increase the number of school gardens by providing teachers and child-care providers with free technical resources, training, curriculum and ongoing support to build the leadership and capacity necessary for sustainable youth gardens.
Since Community GroundWorks implemented the grant in April 2013, staff members have given 20 youth garden presentations to groups across the state and have trained 362 educators in garden-based teaching strategies. They also have provided electronic, phone or on-site technical assistance to 35 school garden programs in 18 counties.
The project is based on previous studies that demonstrate how garden-based nutrition-intervention programs can increase children’s knowledge of and preferences for fruits and vegetables, which can ultimately shape long-term healthy food choices.
The University-Community Partnership Awards highlight exemplary partnerships that get to the heart of the Wisconsin Idea: community members and UW-Madison personnel working collaboratively to transform the campus and community for the public good.
Date Published: 07/03/2014