Building a sustainable community food system takes a lot of work and a lot of people. Your help as an engaged citizen is imperative to making a difference in Dane County. There are plenty of ways you can support and strengthen our community food system:
Dane County Food Coalition
The Dane County Food Coalition is an informal network of community organizations that understand the importance of communication and partnership in promoting an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable Dane County food system. The primary purpose of the Dane County Food Coalition is to facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration among the network members. Coordination and administrative functions are provided by Dane County UW Extension. A volunteer leadership group assists with planning and evaluation components. The Coalition is supported by Dane County UW Extension and the Dane County Food Council.
Learn more about our Organic Conversion Incentive Program.
Partners in Equity Food Project Grants
Learn more about Dane County's Partners in Equity Food Project Grants.
Serve on the Food Council
If you are interested in serving on the Dane County Food Council and would like to be considered for appointment, please complete the online application. Citizen members are appointed by the Chairs of the Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the Extension Committee. Regularly visit our website.
Grow Your Own
Start a garden in the backyard or join a community garden. Donate extra produce to food pantries or learn to preserve.
Teach children the importance of eating healthy
Plant a garden with your children and watch your food grow. Cook and prepare foods together. Develop family rituals around eating.
Follow blogs, read articles, attend meetings, do whatever you can to stay current in the food system conversation. Share what you learn with others.
Get involved with one of the many food related organizations or a local food pantry (from the Public Health Madison & Dane County Community Resources page). You can also volunteer to work on an initiative for the food council.
Advocate for healthy school food
Ask your local PTA or food services director about purchasing local food for your cafeteria. Support Farm to School programs.
Shop locally and eat sustainably
Support your local food economy by joining a CSA and shopping at farmers’ markets, co-ops and independent producers and retailers. Dine at restaurants that feature good food.
Buy only what you need and can use. Select food with minimal packaging and recycle. Take along reusable bags and containers. Pack waste free lunches and bring your own water bottle. Compost kitchen scraps.
Purchase products that guarantee the rights of farm and food workers and fair prices for farmers.
Attend a Food Council meeting. Tell us about an issue we should tackle. Contact your representatives at all levels of government and ask them to support programs and legislation that will bring more healthy food to your area. During election times, keep food issues in mind when you vote.
In this brief list, you'll find access to publications, organizations, websites, multimedia, and printable handouts related to food system issues. Use these resources to educate yourself on key topics or as references for your own discussions and presentations.