Central Rivers Farmshed was one of three central Wisconsin groups awarded Transform Wisconsin grant funds Tuesday, July 24.
Farmshed will receive $160,000 for its Greenhouse Project, an ongoing effort to convert the former Sorenson’s greenhouse in downtown Stevens Point into a local food center.
“Farmshed is thrilled to be chosen for a food system impact grant from Transform Wisconsin,” said Layne Cozzolino, Farmshed executive director. “The Greenhouse Project enabled us to take our organization to the next level and we are excited to build upon the momentum of the last year. These funds will extend our outreach efforts and enable us to strengthen our relationship with school districts in Portage County.”
The Marathon County Health Department and Get Active Wood County also received grants – worth $460,000 and $320,000 respectively – for different projects promoting physical activity, healthy food systems and smoke-free living.
The grant recipients are three of 30 communities around the state awarded Transform Wisconsin grant funding in an effort to create healthier communities and reduce preventable chronic diseases. The funds are part of $6.6 million that will be dispersed over the next 26 months throughout Wisconsin with the goal.
Transform Wisconsin grants are administered through the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources through a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant. Transform Wisconsin said its projects will directly reach about half the state’s population, building on local efforts to improve health by empowering individuals to make healthier choices and preventing chronic disease.
The Greenhouse Project began about a year ago, as leaders from local sustainability groups began looking into the possibility of purchasing the former-Sorenson’s greenhouses in downtown Stevens Point. In September 2011, Patrick Rothfuss, a Stevens Point resident and a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, purchased the building in order to facilitate it redevelopment as a local food center. In November, the city put $100,000 in tax increment financing toward the project. Farmshed staff, partner organizations and volunteers have been working to plan, repair and improve the facility, as well as utilizing it for some smaller-scale food projects and workshops. A grand opening as a full-fledged education-focused local food center remains many months away.