Over half a ton of fresh produce donated to Racine County Food Bank by Parkside Gardeners in 2021 | Local news

Healthy food is harder to come by for poor people.

Harvard University researchers found in 2013 that “unhealthy eating may cost less because food policy has focused on producing ‘cheap, high-volume’ goods”. That study concluded that eating healthy vs. unhealthy was a difference of about $ 1.50 per day per person, which is about $ 2,190 per year for a family of four.

A collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the Racine County Food Bank is helping.

From July to November, more than half a ton of food from Parkside’s campus garden was donated to the Food Bank: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, green beans, cabbage, the list goes on.

The Racine County Food Bank is in the process of doing more to bring fresh, healthy food to its customers.


Last year, the bank received a $ 60,000 grant from Healthier America’s Healthy Hunger Relief initiative, founded by former First Lady Michelle Obama. One-third of that grant will go to expanded cold storage, for which the Food Bank has already allocated approximately $ 25,000 that can be used to store perishable items. The remaining $ 40,000 will be spent over the next few years buying more fresh produce to fill those cool boxes, said Dan Taivalkoski, Executive Director of the Food Bank, “We will focus on more nutritious products.”

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Typically, canned foods for the food bank are easier to store, transport, and distribute. “But,” remarked Taivalkoski, “the fresh stuff is better for you and is very much appreciated by customers.”

How to help

Information on donating can be found at: racinecountyfoodbank.org/contribute.html

Volunteer Service: racinecountyfoodbank.org/volunteer.htm

To learn more about the annual Thoughts for Food music fundraiser, visit Thoughtsforfood.org

Learn more about the board by emailing [email protected] or calling 262-632-2307.


The Food Bank already receives fresh food from the Racine Urban Garden Network, as does the Teaching Garden next to the Food Bank on De Koven Avenue 2000 and the Garden of Giving, which is run by the master gardeners from UW-Extension.

Parkside Gardens are cared for by both Parkside Environmental Club students and local residents who live nearby and lease their own land. In 2021, the number of properties rented rose by four.

Julie Kinzelman headshot 2


Parkside Associate Lecturer Julie Kinzelman said the gardeners faced unusually high heat and received less rain than normal throughout the summer, but they adapted by growing additional okra and hot peppers.

“It was very rewarding to complement long-life items from the pantry with sustainable, locally grown fresh vegetables from the UW Parkside campus garden,” Kinzelman said in an email. “With donations from the Racine County Food Bank and 18th Street Pick ‘n Save (in Kenosha), we were able to label and package the products to make it easier for customers to walk or use public transport to bring their products home in good condition. “

Taivalkoski estimates that the Food Bank has received new donations from Parkside every year for at least a decade.

According to Parkside, this year’s product donation was £ 1,019. That is an increase of £ 350 from 2020 when £ 669 were donated and an increase of £ 367 from 2019 when £ 302 were donated.

Autumn also marks the start of the cold and flu season. This will keep you healthy in the colder months. Be sure to clean your home regularly as cold and flu viruses can survive on household surfaces for days. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day will keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of getting sick. It is important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet during the cold and flu season. Throw away any expired medication and replenish it with fresh decongestants and pain relievers. It is also important that you have a supply of comfort foods and stimulating drinks in case you get sick. The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and over receive the annual flu shot

Next year, the campus garden’s growing season could be extended “by building cold frames and planting a second crop of cold-tolerant plants such as spinach, kale and lettuce,” said a statement from the university, which reads: “Behind Tallent Hall” and next to it For some years now, the campus garden has been offering the student health and advice center vegetables for the UW Parkside and the surrounding community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the campus garden allows students, faculty, and staff to stay active as the plots allow participants to socially distance themselves.

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