What if you could “hit the trails” through Southern Wisconsin, plus indulge in local eats along the way? That’s exactly what active walkers and cyclists have to look forward to courtesy of the Routes to Roots app.
Created by Fairshare CSA Coalition, this virtual fundraiser allows participants to experience multiple, narrated tours while trekking around Southern Wisconsin.
“As participants walk and ride the different routes, we hope they will gain an appreciation for the nuance embedded in what we eat; be it the challenging history of the roots of our food, the location of our grocery stores, or the connections between backyard restoration efforts and vegetable production,” says program manager Liv Froehlich. “Additionally, each route starts with a list of local restaurants/cafes that source produce from local farms.”
Among all 12 tours, the nonprofit features approximately 19 farms—most are in the coalition, but a few are not. The stops Froehlich suggests keeping eye out for include:
- Crossroads Community Farm: “It appears on a few routes and is an example of a CSA farm leading a food access initiative within their community,” she says.
- Badger Rock Urban Farm (part of Badger Rock Neighborhood Center and Rooted): “It leads many community food programs, plus has created a six-part video tour for Routes to Roots participants that highlight different program areas such as youth programs, a kitchen business incubator and community market.”
- Luna Circle: “Owner Tricia Bross speaks to some of the impacts of COVID-19 on small scale producers.”
Other highlights to not miss while cruising along are the sustainable agricultural initiatives located within the Eagle Heights Gardens, like the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Garden, Black Diasporic Crop Trials and F.H. King Urban Farm—as well as the naturalists and environmental features which provide interesting facts about community volunteers leading prairie restoration projects; the Natural Resource Foundation; and Patrick (PJ) Liesch, the Wisconsin Bug Guy.
“Food and farming are central to so many people’s lives and livelihoods throughout the state,” says Froehlich. “Routes to Roots celebrates those pieces of the landscape that folks know and love, while also bringing attention to connections that they might not have made otherwise.”
To learn more about Routes to Roots, visit csacoalition.org/routestoroots.