On January 1st, 2018 the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources began a multi-year contract with Milwaukee consulting firm, Sustainable Kitchens.
Sustainable Kitchens, founded in 2015, aims to bring fresh, local, scratch-made meals to the institutional kitchens found in hospitals and schools who notoriously rely on frozen, pre-cooked convenience products. The goal of the partnership between the agency known as GWAAR and Sustainable Kitchens is to create and implement a universal nutrition program for elderly recipients of home-delivered meals in Wisconsin, as well as participants of the congregate senior meal site programs across the state.
GWAAR first partnered with Sustainable Kitchens in July of last year on two pilot projects that brought updated menus and recipes to Washburn and Eau Claire counties. Now, the two organizations have their sights set on nearly the whole state. The reach of the project will include up to 70 counties and 11 tribes. The services Sustainable Kitchens has been contracted to provide include recipe development, culinary training, a sustainability program and business development.
The two counties not included in the project scope are Milwaukee and Dane counties who currently run private nutrition programs for the elderly.
Beyond merely elevating the quality of the food, Sustainable Kitchens will seek to forge partnerships between Wisconsin farms and county nutrition programs to establish on-going, year-round relationships between the food service operations and the growers.
In one of the early pilot projects, the Spooner Senior Center in Washburn County was able to utilize a surplus of squash and peppers, grown at a local UW Extension Agricultural Research Center, on daily menus. This is thought to just be the beginning.