Sysco Eastern Wisconsin has donated 34 acres of land adjacent to its Jackson distribution center to promote locally grown produce.
The donation of the use of the land allows Growing Power Inc,, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit promoting community food systems, to harvest carrots, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, according to Susie Falk, spokesperson for Growing Power.
"The Milwaukee public schools are already incorporating the produce into their offerings to the kids in the form of snacks," Falk said Sept. 1.
Sysco and Growing Power are working with local schools — where the produce will be served — to allow students to help work in the garden, she said. Sysco and Growing Power also participate in the Milwaukee Public Schools Initiative, which has served more than 25,000 students local food. The new farm could triple the number of students served through the initiative.
“This is a wonderful beginning to a healthy partnership that will improve the nutritional content of our schools’ meals, support local agriculture, and teach our youth about healthy eating,” Will Allen, founder and chief executive of Growing Power, said in a news release. “It’s important that all stakeholders, especially food distributors such as Sysco, are at the good food revolution table to develop a more integrated, local, sustainable food system.”
Cathy Henry, president of Sysco Eastern Wisconsin, said in the release that the partnership with Growing Power will develop a source for high-quality, local produce at a low cost.
“It’s also a meaningful way to support our local economy, to contribute to managing our environmental impact on the community and to offer our local schoolchildren the chance to become involved in local farming activities,” Henry said in the release.