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Sweet potato project shoots out of start gate

Sweet potato project shoots out of start gate

A new project is taking root in Madison.

The Sweet Potato Project provides free sweet potatoes for planting on the condition that growers donate half of the resulting produce to a food pantry. 

Meredith Evans McAllister initiated the Madison Sweet Potato Project in late summer of 2012. Project participants, which include Madison farmers, community gardeners and home-growers, will plant their potatoes this June and donate half of the potatoes they grow to local food pantries in September and early October.

Former Kansas City resident McAllister adopted the project from her hometown and helped establish the Sweet Potato Project in the Madison community. 

“I saw this project and thought this is perfect for Madison,” McAllister said.

Soglin plan underway to bring good-for-you grub to low-income families

Soglin plan underway to bring good-for-you grub to low-income families

Mayor says idea stemmed from summer ‘Meet and Eat’

A food truck experiment this summer lead to the mayor establishing a council this fall to continue work bringing affordable healthy food options for low-income families.

At the first meeting of his Madison Food Policy Council on Oct. 24, National Food Day, Mayor Paul Soglin made the opening statements explaining its importance.

“In terms of the farmers’ market, we have one of the best known markets in the world,” Soglin said. “When it comes to food policy, there is this enormous gap. I see that as an opportunity to take us to another level.”

The MFPC is an extension of the Dane County board. It joins the Dane County Food Council and Coalition, but aims more to answer the question of accessibility and affordability than connecting producers to buyers, which is the focus of the county’s council and coalition.

Madison beaches opening for hot weekend

The heat and sunshine are causing Madison beaches to have some pre-season open hours this weekend.

Regional beaches

  • BB Clarke Beach, 835 Spaight St.
  • Olbrich Park Beach, 3527 Atwood Ave
  • Tenney Park Beach, 1414 E. Johnson St.
  • Vilas Park Beach, 702 S. Randall St.

Neighborhood beaches

Mallards Now Selling Local Foods

Mallards Now Selling Local Foods

Warner Park, home of the Madison Mallards, is no stranger to Wisconsin-themed food. On game days, fans can grab everything  from cheese curds to hand-scooped ice cream, and wash it all down with an icy local brew.

But the ballpark will soon be including even more locally sourced foods. Wednesday’s Opening Day game against the Battle Creek Bombers will introduce The Farmer’s Market Sandwich Stand, which boasts the slogan, “100% Local. 100% Ballpark.”

"We challenge ourselves each year to bring something new to the park and we felt like one of the things everyone in Madison connects with in the summer is the farmers' markets," said Director of Food and Beverage, Brian Sather.

Video rental store offers urban gardening supplies

Video rental store offers urban gardening supplies

Living in the city, even in a limited space, doesn’t have to mean giving up a garden. Just ask Lisa Brennan and Sean Gere.

In April, the duo launched Sprout, a store placing emphasis on gardening in urban settings by using creative growing methods such as living walls and terrariums.

“The big thing that makes it different is that we’re really focusing on small space gardening,” said Brennan.

The store is located inside of Four Star Video Haven at 449 State Street, which Brennan has owned for 11 years. She began thinking about the business after reading on natural history, ecology, alternative economics, and urban gardening. The many unused balconies on State Street suitable for growing plants inspired her to act.

“I would just love to see everything blooming and growing food,” she said.

Earth Day volunteers add six gardens to school yard

Earth Day volunteers add six gardens to school yard

Jay Gavin, a kindergarten student at Sandburg Elementary, stood atop the pile of soil that would soon fill six freshly constructed wooden frames. The topsoil blackened his bare feet and dirt smudges outlined the corners of his smile.

Jay was part of a group of students, staff, and parents of Sandburg Elementary School who celebrated Earth Day by tripling the number of vegetable gardens in their schoolyard.

Madison lifts ban on outdoor burning

Madison lifts ban on outdoor burning

The city of Madison said Monday it has lifted the ban on outdoor burning.

The burn ban was issued last week because there was a high risk of brush fires starting due to the weather conditions.

The Madison Fire Department said the recent rainfall minimizes concern for outdoor burning in the city of Madison -- however the high winds should temporarily limit burning.

Given the rainfall, the city of Madison has lifted the ban, according to Bernadette Galvez of the Madison Fire Department.

Approved outdoor fireplaces and fire pits may now be used. Prairie and/or natural lawn burns, approved by permits, may also be conducted. 

More information about outdoor and open burning in Madison can be found at http://www.cityofmadison.com/fire/documents/OutdoorandOpenBurningGuide.pdf.