To the editor:
Last fall I visited the Washburn Elementary School on a day dedicated to inspiring students to support Wisconsin farm products. Today, I’m sad to report that Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget eliminates the innovative Farm to School Program.
Too many Wisconsin students lack a direct connection to the food that graces our dinner tables. One of the best ways we can support our state, and especially the rural and agricultural workers that are too often overlooked, is to promote and encourage local foods.
Few states enjoy the bounty that Wisconsin does, and that’s because few states have the wealth of hard-working families with deep roots in growing, herding, milking, tending and producing excellent food.
The Farm to School Program introduces students to the benefits of locally grown food while instilling Wisconsin pride that has been hard-earned by generations of families in our state. The program includes local food in school cafeterias, local food education events, farm visits and school harvests.
Wisconsin’s rural and agricultural sectors deserve appreciation and respect from everyone in a state that relies so heavily on the hard-working men and women who produce the nation’s best food products.
Last year’s Farm to School theme was “One Small Step,” to highlight the simple things we can to promote and partake in local, Wisconsin food.
Unfortunately the budget proposal eliminating the program represents “one giant step backward” in respecting and promoting Wisconsin’s rural and agricultural traditions and products.
State Sen. Janet Bewley