2017-2018 Garden to Table

The Market Baskets Program teaches food skills by providing free, hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations to the La Crosse Community. Food skills are a combination of knowledge and hands-on skills necessary to prepare safe, nutritious, and culturally representative food. The goals of the cooking classes are to teach community members how to incorporate fresh, local produce into easy-to-prepare, affordable recipes that can be prepared by all ages using a variety of kitchen tools.

Over the last four years, we have given away 800 crockpots as part of our free Market Baskets cooking classes. We are now expanding our cooking classes to include different methods of food preparation and provide a greater variety of giveaways. The new kitchen tool giveaways for our classes are a knife and cutting board, an immersion blender, or a salad spinner. Participants are encouraged to use their new kitchen tools at home to prepare healthy recipes for their own families.

Market Baskets classes are taught two times a month and are provided to various organizations within the La Crosse Community. The Hillview Urban Agriculture Center believes that everyone in our community should—and can—have access to healthy local food. While the Market Baskets program is designed to meet the needs of communities located within food desserts or with high levels of food insecurity, the program is open to all communities with variable levels of food access.

Examples of Organizations who have hosted Market Baskets classes or demonstrations:

  • La Crosse YMCA Community Food Forest
  • Southside Neighborhood Center
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse
  • Cameron Park Farmer’s Market
  • GROW La Crosse
  • Wafer Food Pantry
  • Hamilton Elementary School Family Night
  • Riverside Corporate Wellness

If you believe your community would benefit from a Market Baskets class, please contact the Market Baskets Coordinator: Kirsten Arm, RDN, CD. 

Our Future Iron Chef program (FIC)

The Future Iron Chef program seeks to reach teens at a critical time and get them excited about eating healthy and delicious food. We achieve this by assembling teens from from local high schools or service agencies and matching them with diverse local chefs. The teams are trained in basic kitchen skills and flavor creation and get to see a working kitchen in action. Everyone involved meets up at a public event and show off what they have learned by presenting plates to judges and giving samples to audience. Each team is scored on flavor, presentation, healthy choices, and teamwork. Prizes are given to all!

We are full of gratitude for the 2018 teams from the YWCA Teen Lead program, Erickson Boys and Girls Club, and 7 Rivers Community High School. Huge appreciation goes to chefs Adrian Lipscombe of Uptowne Cafe, Thippi Luangprasueth of Dim Sum Tea Shop, and Cesar Tafoya of Iguanas Mexican Street Cafe. We are also excited to announce Teen Lead and Cesar Tafoya as the 2018 Future Iron Chef Champs!Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shieldis our special event sponsor for the 2018 Future Iron Chef Competition.

In 2016 we worked with professional Chef, Shawn McManus and owner of Savory Creations, to train four groups of teens from Ho Chunk Nation, YMCA, Seven Rivers High School, and Boys and Girls Club and we set up for one of those teams to compete at the 2016 Mayor’s Conference with the theme Food in the City. The 2016 Future Iron Chef Competition was made possible by a generous grant from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA)

The Future Iron Chef program would not be possible without the support of our cooking program sponsors-Mayo Clinic Health System, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and People’s Food Co-op.