A tasty start to the winter festival
BY AMBER MULLEN FOR THE DAILY PRESS | Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 8:00 am
The Chequamegon Bay Farm to School Winter Carnival and Empty Bowls Soup Feed Fundraiser kicked off this year’s ninth annual Bayfield Winter Festival with some delicious food and educational activities. The events hoped to raise community awareness about the Chequamegon Bay Farm to School Program and to raise money for the Red Cliff Giba'an Bakadewin (Stop Hunger) Project.
Magdalen Dale, the AmeriCorps Farm to School Community Outreach coordinator for the Bayfield, Washburn and Ashland School Districts, said this was the first year the Winter Carnival and Empty Bowls Soup Feed were paired together.
“We feel like it makes sense to have these two events together and that it’s going to be very sustainable to have this event in the future,” Dale said.
The money raised from the event is donated directly to the Red Cliff food pantry. According to Dale, The Red Cliff Giba’an Bakadewin (Stop Hunger) project is a “task force that oversees their food pantry, community garden, and other programming.”
“Every year we would like to rotate who the funds are going to. Next year we hope to have the event in Ashland, so we hope the money will go to a food pantry there,” Dale said.
Vanessa Van Cleve, an AmeriCorps Farm to School Nutrition educator, explained the Food to School program was a way to connect local food producers and public education in order to raise awareness about healthy and sustainable foods, as well as provide students with healthy food options.
“In a nut-shell, it’s a program that supposed to help facilitate the procurement of local food and nutrition education in schools,” Van Cleve said.
Big Water Coffee Roasters in Bayfield donated two gallons of carrot ginger soup to the event. The Washburn High School Family and Consumer Science class made five gallons of Tuscan white bean and kale soup and the Ashland High School Family and Consumer Education foods classes made five gallons of chicken corn chowder for the event.
“The students were really excited to be making food for a good cause,” Dale said.
Cheyenne Spencer, a high school student in Bayfield, volunteered to sell tickets and bowls for the soup feed. Spencer said she supports the mission and was excited to “help out.”
“I’m just here because I really do want to stop hunger,” Spencer said.
A number of local vendors and supporters of the programs set up booths during the winter carnival. The Chequamegon Food Co-Op, Big Water Coffee Roasters, Benoit Cheese, Bayfield Apple Company and Starlit Kitchen provided information and samples of their various local products. University of Wisconsin Extension and Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program educators set up different stations including a veggie bean bag toss, information about a local seed swap, children’s coloring contest, worm compost and face painting for attendees.
Soup at the event was free to Bayfield students, families and staff. Locally crafted bowls were donated by area potters and available to attendees for a low price. Dale hopes event attendance will be bigger in the future and she has started planning for future demand.
“Next year we want to see if students at the local schools and Northland College would be interested in making bowls,” Dale said. “Also, a number of local potters have said they would be open to having community members come into their studios and make bowls for it.”
Dr. David Asyln, the Bayfield School District Superintendent, said he also hopes to see more community involvement next year.
“I hope that this is an event that we can build on and make even better in the future,” Aslyn said. “This is an excellent cause that we are working on. Where our food comes from and the food that we serve children plays a major role in how they do in school. I’m looking forward to it being even greater in the future.”
Van Cleve said they planned for 150-200 attendees. From an outside perspective, the event did not appear to draw in the expected numbers.
“We are hoping that it can be an annual event rotating between the three school districts, Ashland, Washburn and Bayfield,” Van Cleve said.
At the end of the event, Emily Manger, an AmeriCorps Farm to School Nutrition educator, was optimistic about the overall turnout for both events.
“Its about quality not quantity, right? The turnout was good, you know, despite the weather and Bayfield being a little further north,” Manger said.
More information about the Chequamegon Bay Farm to School Program, including ways to get involved, can be found at http://chequamegonbayfarmtoschool.webly.com.
In The News
News articles featuring local food projects that are occurring in the Chequamegon Bay area