Dr. Katie Wilson, Deputy Undersecretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services with the USDA, made a special trip to the Holmen Public School District in Wisconsin on July 2 to see the chicken raising program that results in a special event chicken dinner for the school community. The initiative, called the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, recently won a Best Concept Award from FM in the Best Special Event category.
Dr. Wilson began her day meeting with Student Nutrition Supervisor Michael Gasper and Agriscience Instructor Roger King, the two men most responsible for the chicken dinner event and all the activity that precedes it, as well as and other district officials. She then toured the chicken raising pens, which are overseen by Future Farmers of America (FFA) students advised by King, as well as the district’s school gardens, where crops like lettuce are raised for use in school meals, and the district nutrition services facilities.
"When I asked one of the FFA students today how their peers reacted to that local chicken and that locally grown lettuce, how did they react to trying those foods? And they said 'Wow!' They thought it was really cool, they thought it was really good. But yeah, it's because kids got involved and that's how you change things," Dr. Wilson was quoted as saying by local news station WREX.
“Having the Deputy Undersecretary visit our district and recognize the work that we are doing here, not just in the food service side of things but also getting kids involved and helping to educate them, really inspires us to keep moving forward with the things that were are doing in Holmen,” Gasper told FM. “Those of us involved here in the district sometimes do not see the things we do as anything other than doing our job. I think having Dr. Wilson request to visit our operations helps all of us to see just how impactful and unique the things we are doing really are. It was truly an honor having her visit our district.”
Dr. Wilson, formerly executive director for the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, was named to her current post by President Obama this past spring.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]