With a mission of shortening the distance between the general public and the food they eat, Farming for the Future Foundation officially broke ground on the Food + Farm Exploration Center.
The land upon which the Center is being constructed was generously donated to the project by the Worzella family, one of Central Wisconsin’s multi-generational growers.
The Food + Farm Exploration Center, slated to open Summer 2023, will be a state-of-the-art manifestation of the Foundation’s educational mission. Candise Miller, Executive Director of the Foundation, said the Center will operate as the common ground for the public to explore the innovative nature of agriculture and become inspired by it.
“There is a gap where many people just aren’t connected to the food they eat on a personal level anymore,” Miller said. “We are working to bridge that divide, bringing people back to the table to have conversations about where their food comes from. Fostering a greater understanding of production agriculture is essential if we are to proactively address the challenges of feeding a growing world with fewer resources.”
The Center will be a centralized place for people to come together on a journey into the world of modern agriculture, to meet the people behind food production, to build new science and engineering skills, to connect, play and learn. It will be a teaching farm, a children’s museum, a science center and a community workshop all rolled into a tantalizing celebration of food and farming.
The Center’s programming will also have a strong focus on workforce development. Richard Jaworski, Director of the Food + Farm Exploration Center, said he sees the Center as a place for engagement and learning through the various programming and practical hands-on training to be offered.
“I look forward to it being a leading agritourism destination that promotes STEM careers in agricultural sustainability and innovation through exciting and engaging programs and exhibits,” Jaworski said.
To date, the Foundation has raised more than $20 million to bring the Center to life. The Cultivating Connections Campaign expects to continue fundraising throughout the next year bringing together those who care most about production agriculture including but not limited to multi-generational farmers, aligned industry, friends and neighbors.
Richard Pavelski, a founding board member of the Foundation, announced Friday he will match up to $1 million raised through May 31.
“There has never been a greater need for people to understand where their food comes from,” Pavelski said. “The Center is critical to ensuring we can meet the growing demands of the industry, and that is why my family initiated this match program. We hope to inspire others to donate by maximizing their gift.”