Since 2008, Slow Food UW interns have been regulars at the South Madison Farmers Market, encouraging students to trek down South Park Street to meet local farmers, try out some of Madison’s best produce, and visit the restaurants and businesses along the way. This campus-community partnership promotes a “two-way street” of information and resource sharing between UW-Madison and South Madison, cultivating a greater sense of community within all participants.
Beginning at the South Madison Farmers’ Market, we asked market manager Robert Pierce, “What can Slow Food UW do to help you?” Robert immediately asked us to engage the youth and teach them how to cook. From there, we can reach their families, and continue to aid pre-existing organizations and community-led efforts in purchasing and preparing South Madison-grown food. In the coming years, perhaps food sovereignty will no longer be a privilege, but a realizable and affordable right to the community.
SFUW’s support of the community can come in many ways, beginning with regular purchasing from the South Madison Farmers’ Market and with student activism and volunteerism in pre-existing community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club or after-school science programs, to name a few.
If you’re interested in learning more about the urban agricultural initiatives in the diverse communities just south of campus, join our efforts and shoot us an email at slowfooduw [at] gmail [dot] com.
Read more about our 5 awesome programs below! If you’d like to contact one of our interns for any of the projects, you can find more information here.
Teen Cooking Night
During our weekly Teen Cooking Night at the Allied Boys and Girls Club, SFUW interns lead teens in preparing a fun dinner. Rather than a formal, structured cooking class, TCN allows the kids to be creative with cooking and engage in a two-way learning process. Nothing ever goes quite as planned, but it’s always a good time and good food.
The Family Voices program is an outreach program that was created by the UW School of Human Ecology in This project partners with organizations such as University Housing, the South Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to engage families and community members in projects related to education, housing, foods, parenting, and South Madison planning. Family Voices runs a Saturday morning tutoring program that engages students and parents, enhances the students’ achievement in school, and develops more positive relationships between families and schools. Slow Food UW has partnered with the Saturday morning tutoring program to provide food for the tutors, parents, and kids. The cooking program allows students to have a break from their tutoring sessions while learning more about cooking and South Madison farmers. In addition, it provides everyone with a healthy and fun meal.
SFUW runs afterschool garden programs at both Dane County Boys and Girls Club locations. During the growing season, our garden interns engage with children in learning about soil and plants and growing food in our outdoor gardens. When it’s too chilly outside, we move inside to the kitchen for cooking activities, and the kids also participate in indoor science activities related to gardening.
Our WID Snacks program involves providing snacks for elementary and middle school students from the Boys and Girls Club and the PEOPLE program participating in the Afterschool Expeditions program at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery. We introduce the kids to new, fun, homemade snacks using fresh and local produce whenever possible.
The Odyssey Project
For SFUW’s newest project, we teamed up with the Odyssey Project, a UW humanities program for adult students facing economic barriers to college. Slow Food UW helps to organize and prepare monthly dinners for Odyssey Project students and alumni in order to spur further collaboration between graduates of the program and to foster discussions around food justice.