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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW Slow Foods receives grant to bring produce to South Madison

Organization will deliver produce on electric bikes, address food deserts
Courtesy of Lexi Boumstein
Nikki Rasmussen one of our Market Basket Interns on a potential bike design for the Market Basket Expansion.

The Slow Food chapter at University of Wisconsin recently received a grant that will allow the organization to deliver food to south Madison neighborhoods.

Slow Food received the $25,000 grant from the Ford Motors Community College Challenge, Lexi Boumstein, UW Slow Food South Madison co-director, said in an email to The Badger Herald. This challenge encourages organizations from universities across the nation to solve a first world problem.

First-of-its-kind grant hopes to make healthy food more accessible

The contest also had the possibility for an additional $10,000 to be won in 2016 if Slow Foods demonstrates excellent use of the initial grant, Boumstein said.


Slow Food is using the grant to extend the Market Basket program, Boumstein said, which is designed to provide healthy food alternatives to families throughout Madison.

The market basket program allows Madison residents to order a basket full of produce sourced from a local farm.

“The program is designed to address food barriers in Madison by offering individuals with transportation and access issues an easier alternative to traditional grocery shopping,” Boumstein said.

Madison has a total of 11 areas in the city that have been identified as having low access to healthy food.

Known as “food access improvement areas,” these areas are calculated based on metrics, such as accessibility, distance to healthy options, income, vehicle ownership and the assessment of the quality of food outlets, Mark Woulf, Madison’s food and alcohol policy director, said.

These areas are commonly referred to as food deserts.

UW program partners with community to expand food options

“A number of areas that have limited access to healthy food have been that way for a long time,” Woulf said. “One of the things the city has learned is that you really don’t know what the needs are until you get on the ground and talk to residents. If you are looking to improve access, you have to understand exactly what the barriers are.”

To increase the number of pickup sites, Slow Food will be working with UW engineering students to design electric bikes capable of hauling the market baskets to different areas across Madison.

Slow Food will also work in partnership with UW Urban Planning professor Alfonso Morales to select the best locations for the additional pickup sites.

“By increasing the amount of pickup sites, we hope to more effectively combat the food insecurity in Madison,” Boumstein said.

Regardless of whether or not Slow Food receives the additional $10,000 grant in 2016Slow Food leaders hope the project will be ongoing.

Once the grant money runs out, Slow Food will pursue different sources of funding that will ideally allow it to continue helping residents around the city.

“I am most excited about raising the awareness and performance of our Market Basket program in the Madison area,” Boumstein said. “I also hope to foster partnerships with local businesses in order to further our progress of decreasing the food desert in South Madison.”

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