Mauston High School has a growing food production program, and its district recently received a federal boost. The School District of Mauston was one of two Wisconsin districts to receive a $50,000 USDA Farm to School - Turnkey Edible Garden Grant earlier this month. Funding from the grant will be used to expand fruit and vegetable growth and purchase new products for the high school's agriculture department, according to first-year department head and Wisconsin Dells native Jacqueline Peyer.
"The School District of Mauston will implement a 12-month Edible Gardening turnkey project designed to increase students' access to and consumption of healthful, local foods by (a) expanding hands-on agricultural education opportunities at all grade levels and (b) increasing the variety and amount of produce grown by students in school garden facilities (raised outdoor beds, indoor greenhouse, and hydroponics, aquaculture system) and featured in the school lunch program and high school culinary classes," Peyer said in an email.
Grant funding will be used to purchase a new weather system, soil sterilizer, and a washer and dryer for produce grown in the program. A student from the school's iLead program will serve as a paid intern gardener in the department with grant funds. Along with students and staff, area farmers and other community members have helped with the program, Peyer said.
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