2015 Spotlight Series

Join the Community Food Systems Community of Practice on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 1pm to learn about a different aspect of Community Food Systems.

Date Presenter Summary
January Monica Theis picMonica Theis UW-Madison Senior Lecturer in the Department of Food Science Monica will be sharing her thoughts on what it really takes to bring Farm to Table in the context of a variety of social programs. She will talk about her work with a Food Pantry in Middleton and a wellness program that she did with the UW Police Department. In a nutshell, Monica will talk about practical, emotional, cultural, and philosophical influences in the identification, securing, selection, storage, preparation and enjoyment of food from source to plate.
February Samuel Pratsch picSamuel Pratsch
UW-Extension Evaluation Specialist
Samuel Pratsch, Evaluation Specialist, will guide the discussion on evaluation needs that currently exist and how the team can work towards filling those needs. Then, we will talk about how we communicate the results of our CFS programming and whether or not it makes sense to try and communicate an extension wide story. Finally, we will brain storm questions we would like to explore in the 2014 recording results narratives and impact statements.
March Jeremy SolinJeremy Solin
Director, Wisconsin Center for Environmental EducationMadelin PetzMadelin Petz
UW-Stevens Point ​Food Systems Education Outreach Specialist

Over the past year, the Community Food Systems Team and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education (WCEE) have been developing a Wisconsin Food Systems Education Conceptual Framework. The Framework is being created and designed to support and unite existing efforts, boosting and growing food systems education throughout the state. The Framework is not a curriculum itself, but rather a logically sequenced presentation of foundational food systems concepts. The document will serve as a guide for formal and non-formal educators, whether they are updating existing curricula, creating a new curriculum, or developing community programming for food systems education. Built to enable comprehensive education about food systems, the Framework is ordered sequentially so as to facilitate application at any age or grade level.

Jeremy and Madelin will present an overview of the Framework and discuss the distribution and use of the Framework in existing and future food systems education programs.

Food Systems Education Framework Summary

April lindsey Day FarnsworthLindsey Day Farnsworth
UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agriculture (CIAS), Associate staff, urban agriculture and food systemsSamuel Pratsch picSamuel Pratsch UW-Extension Evaluation Specialist

Please join Samuel Pratsch and Lindsey Day Farnsworth as they present their draft version of an online toolkit designed to support county educators and state specialists engaging in community food systems programming. In the first half of the presentation Samuel and Lindsey will give a brief overview of the toolkit and discuss how it can be used. The second half is devoted to gathering participants feedback and suggestions.

Soft release of the beta version of the online Community Food System Action Toolkit check it out and provide your feedback on how it works for you!

AFRI Toolkit Presentation


Amber Canto
UW-Extension Poverty and Food Security SpecialistRachel Glaza

Rachel Glaza
UW-Extension Family Living Associate Outreach Specialist

kristin Krokowski
Kristin Krokowski
Waukesha County UW-Extension Commercial Horticulture Educator

Spotlight on EBT at Farmers Markets

Electronic benefits transfers (EBT) at farmers’ market programs allow recipients of FoodShare to use their food benefit dollars at the farmers’ market. UW-Extension has been providing support to farmers’ markets and community partners to expand the availability and improve the accessibility of these programs for FoodShare recipients. There are a number of resources that have been developed and collected for colleagues to use in their local efforts to support these programs and several emerging statewide efforts in which Extension educators can become involved. Learn more about what is available to you to support EBT at farmers’ markets.

Presentation recording: EBT at Farmers Markets

June Julia-Darnton-Pic
Julia Darnton
MSU Extension Community Food System EducatorGarrett Ziegler 


Garrett Ziegler
MSU Extension Community Food System Educator

Spotlight on CFS work in Michigan

Join colleagues from Michigan State University Extension Community Food Systems Work Group to learn about the projects and work of that team.  Julia Darnton and Garrett Ziegler co-lead the team whose members are engaged with:  beginning farmer education, developing farm to institution links, supporting food hubs, CSAs and farmers markets, developing food processing innovation districts, a small diversified farm Group GAP pilot in the Upper Peninsula, creating tools for community and school gardens and supporting local food policy councils. They are also interested in pulling together a meeting of food systems colleagues from the region and would like to hear from UWEX colleagues about the kind of training or education that would draw interest among multiple state’s colleagues.

Check out some of the work they are engaged in: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/community_food_systems

and a recent program they offered for beginning farmers: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/beginning_farmer_webinar_series


Lexa Dundore

Lexa Dundore
Dane County UW-Extension Americorps VISTA Community Food Systems Educator

Spotlight on Food Justice: the Food System Equity and Empowerment Lens

Lexa Dundore, Americorps VISTA at Dane County UW Extension, focuses on community food systems and particularly: issues of food justice. For the 2014 Dane County Food Summit, Lexa was charged with incorporating into Summit breakout sessions a process for exploring aspects of racial, social, and environmental equity and justice as they relate to the food system. Lexa will share an updated version of the Food System Equity and Empowerment Lens she adapted for the Dane County Food Summit, a tool that can help decision-makers consider questions such as “How are people uniquely situated in terms of the barriers they experience?”  and “What policies, processes, or relationships contribute to the exclusion of individuals and communities most affected by inequities?” Lexa will introduce a discussion around the applications, benefits, and limitations of incorporating this kind of tool into our work at Extension.

To read more about how the Food System Equity and Empowerment Lens was applied at the 2014 Dane County Food Summit, and to view the original version of the adapted lens, please see the 2014 Food Summit Summary.

August FTD 2015 dane_county

No Spotlight Series in August – Instead, come visit the Community Food Systems Table at Farm Tech Days in Dane County! Aug 25-27!



jonathan rivin2




Jonathan Rivin
Waste Management Specialist
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point


Kathryn Colasanti




Kathryn Colasanti
MSU Michigan Good Food Coordinator


Learn about a new, comprehensive web resource on wasted food that has recently been created. Jonathan Rivin, who led the development of this website, will give a short presentation about it.


And, also learn about the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, who’s mission is to engage the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in applied research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems.

In particular hear from Kathryn about how they are partnering across Michigan to advance the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter.



Joe Muellenberg pic




Joe Muellenberg
Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Program Coordinator and Youth Nutrition Educator

Joe will be presenting on The Grow Academy, a Teen Agriculture-based Curriculum with the Department of Juvenile Corrections. Joe will talk about his role with the Grow Academy, Division of Juvenile Corrections (DJC) in order to reach and educate young males in the corrections system. This program meets the needs of delinquent, high school credit deficient youth by offering an evidence-based, correctional program consisting of an agriculturally-based educational curriculum as an alternative to juvenile incarceration. Youth involved in the program learn skills to successfully reintegrate into and be productive members of their communities. The teen participants at the Grow Academy have learned tangible skills such as vegetable gardening, plant care, animal (chicken) care, natural resource management as well as how to how work in a team and how to communicate constructively. We have found that the teens learn best through experiential activities and often independently found topics of interest. They gain a sense of pride and feel ownership in the lessons/projects where they had more choice and independence.

Patrick Nehring

Patrick Nehring Waushara County UW-Extension Community Resource Development Agent

Come learn about the CFS work that Patrick is leading in Waushara County.
Julie Dawson
UW-Extension Urban and Regional Food Systems Specialist
Julie Dawson will talk about her research around and work with urban food systems.