VIROQUA, Wis. — Agriculture is a significant part of Wisconsin’s culture and accounts for an economic impact of $88 billion. That’s why one western Wisconsin school is bringing Wisconsin-produced products like potatoes and agricultural education right to the classroom.
On April 25 and 26, the Wisconsin Spudmobile’s home was the Viroqua Area School District (115 N. Education Avenue) where approx. 600 students experienced being a farmer through the vehicle’s eight interactive interior exhibits. The students range in ages from pre-k through 4th grade and went through Wisconsin’s traveling billboard between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days.
Through these interactive displays inside the Spudmobile, students will embark on a journey from the farmer’s field to the dinner plate.
“After five years on the road, it’s so exciting to see the Wisconsin Spudmobile continuing to have such a significant impact on education and raising awareness of where people’s food comes from and how it’s produced,” says Dana Rady, Director of Promotions, Communication and Consumer Education at the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA). “This vehicle continues to allow us to have face to face conversations with consumers and explain the importance of buying local and buying Wisconsin,” Rady adds.
But the experience for students in Viroqua isn’t stopping with the Spudmobile. As part of the school’s Farm to School program, students will have a chance to taste Wisconsin potatoes first hand!
Viroqua Farm to School Program Coordinator Renae Diehl says a medley of colored potatoes are on the menu. “We are having roasted potatoes (gold, purple, red) during our lunch time [and] I will be serving to all children regardless if [they’re] buying hot lunch,” Diehl says.
Diehl adds that the Farm to School program this year has focused on providing students with Wisconsin products in which the state ranks high in production. A couple examples include cabbage for sauerkraut and cheese from goat milk.
It’s truly an educational experience that comes around full circle in allowing students to experience potato farming through the Spudmobile and then actually taste those potatoes. A genuine field to fork and farm to school story these students are sure to remember.
The Wisconsin Spudmobile was developed by WPVGA, which is a non-profit organization that represents and promotes the state’s 300 potato and vegetable grower members and affiliates. The Spudmobile makes frequent appearances at locations throughout the Midwest including stops at schools, community events and retailers who provide Wisconsin potatoes to their customers.
To learn more about The Spudmobile or to schedule a visit, go to http://wisconsinspudmobile.com.
— Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
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