Dane County groups receive food equity grants totaling $20,000

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MADISON, Wis. — Local groups working to improve equity and access to food received a funding boost Monday.

Dane County handed out grants to 10 organizations totaling $20,000, County Executive Joe Parisi announced. The funding is part of the county’s Partners in Equity Food Grant Program.

“Our community continues to face challenges creating greater access to local food systems,” Parisi said in a statement. “By supporting these efforts, we increase opportunity and lift our community up.”

The 10 recipients were selected from a pool of 23 applicants. Five recipients received small grants of $2,000 or less and the other five received large grants over $2,000.

Recipients include:

  • Aldo Leopold Foundation — $535
    • The grant will be used to buy new fruit trees and supplies. The fruit will be donated to the on-site food pantry or given to students.
  • Cambridge Farm to School — $450
    • Farm to School will use the grant to purchase new compost bins to help teach students about composting.
  • Cambridge School District — $951
    • The district plans to use the funds to expand the size of its raised-bed vegetable garden from 12 beds to 36. The vegetables are harvested and eaten by students or donated to the Cambridge Food Pantry.
  • Mission Nutrition — $2,000
    • Mission Nutrition Deforest will use the funds to upgrade its registration system from a written one to a digital one.
  • Youth Empowerment Initiative — $1,064
    • YEI’s farm helps teach community members how to grow crops such as Scotch Bonnet peppers and West African garden eggs. However, supplies of the crops have dwindled during the pandemic and prices have climbed high. The grant will help fund YEI’s farm operation.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Dane County — $2,000
    • BGCDC will use its grant to add a Culinary Education Pilot Program to its Taft Street Club location in Madison.
  • Connect the Dots — $4,000
    • Connect the Dots plans to use the grant to provide daily meals to unsheltered people found under Highway 30 and on State Street in Madison.
  • Groundswell Conservancy — $3,500
    • This grant will be used to provide access to therapeutic gardening for Hmong elders living with PTSD, depression and dementia.
  • Restorative Garden — $3,500
    • The program plans to work with Dane County Human Services to transport teens with court-ordered community service to a garden. The teens will learn gardening skills to help them in the future.
  • River Food Pantry — $2,000
    • The grant will help River Food Pantry expand its mobile lunch program to under-served communities on Madison’s south side and beyond.