Gov. Evers Tours Sustainable Food Program at Northland College

On Friday Governor Tony Evers toured the Hulings Rice Food Center on the Northland College campus.

ASHLAND, Wis.– At Northland College in Ashland, a school food program has been teaching students how to grow sustainability. And it’s catching the eye of the Wisconsin governor.

On Friday Governor Tony Evers toured the Hulings Rice Food Center on the Northland College campus.

“It’s always good to get out of the bubble of the state capital,” said Evers.

The food center was built in 2017 and has taken a different approach to create more sustainable food systems on campus and in the community. Working with regional farmers, including the Wisconsin hazelnut industry.

“The fun thing about this project is the innovation that they’re doing,” said Evers.

Last year, the program was given $49,300 from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as part of the ‘Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin’ grant.

“Just seeing how the students interface with that and the learning experiences they have that will not only reflect their values as they go out into the world outside of northland college but also it really just makes them whole,” said Evers. “It’s a holistic way of looking at their lives.”

Governor Evers saw the work being done at the facility, including different machines and buildings, along with meeting the program’s three students.

“It’s just really important to be hands on in a garden practicing sustainability now,” said food center student Anna Marhefke.

They grow tomatoes, radishes and a whole list of locally grown plants. Then take their crops to the Ashland Area Farmers Market every Saturday.

“A lot of people are really happy with the fact that students get to have these experiences on campus,” said student Kathryn Simpson.

The three students say it’s empowering to grow their own food and see the fruits of their labor, along with showing others to do the same.

“It’s just really important to be hands on in a garden practicing sustainability now,” said Simpson. “The food center and the gardens are where northland’s values are the most demonstrated or the most clearly demonstrated. It feels like we are really living the values of the institution here in everything that we do.”

Governor Evers, a former teacher himself, says seeing these students succeed in all of these different areas together at northland college is every educator’s dream.

“Instead of mastering facts and figures they’re actually helping young people develop a value system,” said Evers. “It’s a super opportunity for us and it’s really important for our society.”

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