Partners Make a Difference


Food and food access is an increasingly active area of focus in Rock County through various coalitions and partnerships with Rock County Departments and community school districts, nonprofits and program participants. In this way, we build individual capacity and innovate systems change. Yet, food is recognized as the way to feed not only bodies but relationships, connections and trust.

Being in community with partners begins through our office connections. This year we are breaking bread together each quarter using The Antiracist Kitchen edited by Nadia L. Hohn. During each staff meeting we will share food stories and have courageous conversations that connect us through personal and program experiences.

Cook along with us when you

In Partnership: Division of Extension and Rock County

UW-Madison Division of Extension, Rock County recognizes the importance of our partners and partnership. Division of Extension is built on the Wisconsin Idea. This means that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Division of Extension has first and foremost a special partnership with our local Rock County Government. Local conversations influence which topics are supported by Educators in the county. We are guided by the Agriculture & Extension Education Committee who we share our impacts with on a monthly basis.

Furthermore, Rock County Departments collaborate with Division of Extension programming in our primary areas of health, agriculture and youth. These include Rock County Land Conservation, Human Services, and Public Health Departments.

We are lucky to have individual stakeholders and partners of organizations of all kinds in Rock County. This makes our innovation diverse and relevant to our shared goals. The types of partnerships with UW-Division of Extension take many forms in Rock County. They include government agencies, school districts, higher education, informal networks and coalitions, cooperatives, non profits and private businesses. Read a full report on Rock County partnerships this past year created by our Data Governance Team.

Hardworking – Determined – Compassionate – Creative – Fun

These are words we use to describe our Rock County partners. Ultimately it is our partners who express best who we are and strive to be. We invite you to click on the drop down banners below to hear from some of our valued partners.

Teach & Learn

Building New Skills

“Teen Cuisine has been an engaging program that teaches young adults healthy alternatives to everyday snacks. Adding the leadership section gave the students the opportunity to showcase their newfound skills.  The students still talk about this program to this day.”
~ Devin Blay-Stahl,
Beloit Learning Academy

Making Informed Choices

A part of Life Recovery is learning important life skills. We are so blessed to have Karen J., a FoodWIse Nutrition Educator, lead a weekly class with the GIFTS guests. They learn to make healthy choices while distinguishing between food wants and food needs. A HUGE thank you to Karen for her dedication to being such a valuable piece of our mission!
~ GIFTS Men’s Shelter Program Director

Supporting Others and Ourselves

“Thanks to WeCope I started my own self-love journal where I write everything down that I do for self-love/self-care. It’s an ongoing list and it’s anything from the massage that I got the other day to a boundary that I put up with someone! I am very excited to keep it going!”
~ WeCope Participant

“This class is very good at keeping me calmer and being nice everyday.”
~ WeCope Participant

Excitement and Engagement

“We love the lessons! The kids are so engaged! They talk about food for days and what they eat. Ms. Maria is so good at what she does and is awesome with the students!”
~ Elementary School Teacher

Lead & Serve

Community Leadership

“It has been good to see the youth get involved with what they eat and how that affects your body. The Teen Cuisine series adds depth to the students volunteering in the Merrill Community Sharing Garden.”
~ Community Action instructor

Purpose and Confidence

“Due to her involvement in our Sexual Violence Prevention Team, we have been able to purposefully and confidently engage youth leaders from all three middle schools in Janesville. Through Erin’s support and guidance over 80 youth were exposed to different ways to engage in leadership and explore what types of leaders they are. To say that her involvement in our team is appreciated would be an understatement as our work would not be near as impactful or forward moving without her investment.”
~ Xandi Finn Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change

Culturally Relevant Collaboration

“I have worked with Erin Conway on multiple projects during my time as director of the Clinton Public Library. Our library was selected for the ALA Libraries Transforming Communities grant in 2021. As part of the grant, we hosted multiple conversations with the Latinx community to build a strategic plan to better partner with them. We struggled to get people to speak during our first conversation. After Erin partnered with us for our second and third conversations, we saw a significant growth in individual input and collaboration at the table.”
~ Joseph Langer Clinton Public Library

Partnership Programming in Progress

Below are examples of ongoing cross programmatic efforts and countywide partner engagement.  Explore the resources or click on the drop down tabs to learn more.

Teen Cuisine Coders

Did you receive a food gift card? Did you give a grocery gift card? Do you want to set healthy goals for you or someone you care about? Explore youth created resources by the Teen Cuisine Coders of Beloit Learning Academy! If you use their suggestions, you will have the flexibility to change ingredient selections, use leftover ingredients and save great meals to eat later. 

Too hungry to be creative? Need a solution made easy? Get motivated with this short video!

Now try. . .

    • Recommended recipes-These recipes are chosen by youth.

    • Sample shopping lists-These lists are based on the most common grocery gift card amount donated ($20). By using the list provided, you will be able to make all the recipes shown on the grocery list. (*Prices may vary from the time these lists were created).

    • Tips from youth-These recommendations help choose ingredients you like best and stay within the $20 budget.

Share this resource with someone else! Download our PDF flyer.

Building Youth Voice

The Youth Advocates for Community Health (YACH) initiative creates youth-adult partnerships that allows youth to lead and generate energy among their peers (and adults) to improve the health in their community in ways that matter to them.

Extension provides a YACH guidebook filled with resources for planning a youth-led project through the five steps of action:

    • Choose your Battle – assess the health in your community and narrow down to one area of focus

    • Raise Awareness – speak with community partners to learn about their work and build support

    • Make your action plan- develop a plan for your project

    • Implement your plan – follow the action plan to complete the project

    • Evaluate your plan – assess your project and how you want to move forward

In Rock County. . . Youth Advocates for Community Health is only the beginning!

Support Extension