Advancing Racial and Social Equity in Wisconsin Farm to School

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology
November 15, 2023

This project is a collaborative effort between the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology’s (SoHE) Civil Society and Community Research Department and Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (CommNS), the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Community Food Systems Program, and REAP Food Group.

Full Report

Executive Summary

Farm to school procurement has immense potential to support economic, environmental, and racial justice, while also respecting workers and educators, animal welfare, and student health. By prioritizing values-aligned school meals, school districts can play a critical role in the positive transformation of our food system.  

In order to do this, more information is needed about food producers’ experiences in the farm to school market, as relatively few historically underserved producers have access to farm to school contracts. Advancing racial and social equity in Wisconsin farm to school requires equitable access to farm to school markets. Wisconsin lacks data to provide a holistic understanding of how these particular producers access farm to school markets.  

This study aims to better understand how Wisconsin’s historically underserved producers are participating in farm to school procurement, with a focus on understanding how to make their participation in school food supply chains easier and more profitable. To examine trends, a statewide survey was launched in February of 2023 and six focus groups were held between February and April 2023. In total, 38 survey responses were gathered and 21 producers participated in focus groups.

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