Rural Schools to Local Foods

© Photographed October 16, 2015
Erected by Fitchburg Agriculture Route, 
The City of Fitchburg, and Dane County Parks
Fitchburg, Dane County, Wisconsin
42.984379, -89.461899
42°59'03.8"N 89°27'42.8"W
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Education of farm children to development of local food system

A local food system distributes and consumes agricultural commodities in close proximity to where they are produced. These systems have various benefits including reduced transportation costs and carbon footprint, support of local farmers and economies, and educating consumers on where their food comes from, known as the "farm to fork" relationship. Additionally, many agricultural activities that comprise local food systems use organic practices, eliminating pesticides and chemicals that may be detrimental to ecosystem health.
Various components of local food systems are located in close proximity to the FAR. These include a commercial apple orchard and a private garden managed by a non-profit organization that donates its produce to local food pantries.
"I'd like to pay tribute to the good work that those old one room schools did. Teachers were rather young girls themselves, they didn't have college degrees. Yet their teaching made us skillful readers within two or three years. We got our fundamentals pretty well in that simple situation."
-- William Dunn, University history professor and Fitchburg rural school student, 1923-1931
Stoner School, located on the south side of Vroman Road 0.2 miles west of this sign, severed to educate children living in rural areas of Fitchburg until 1967. The school was built in 1850 (a new building replaced it in 1927) and held grades 1 to 8. Students were assigned various tasks to ensure the school day ran smoothly, including cleaning toilets, fetching water, and even teaching. 
"The teacher was not the only educator. Sometimes, the 7th and 8th graders were given the responsibility of instructing the primary grades while the teacher instructed intermediate grades."

-- Catherine O'Brien Schneider, Stoner School teacher, 1955-1963
An act of the 1959 Wisconsin State Legislature required all lands in the state be part of a high school district by 1965, leading to the closure of many rural schools. The last class of students came through Stoner School's doors in 1967, with rural Fitchburg children sent to schools in Madison, Oregon, and Verona thereafter.
The marker is located along the Badger State Trail and is accessible from northbound South Seminole Highway, just north of its T-intersection with Vroman Road, Fitchburg, Wisconsin 53711.

The "interpretative sign" marker is included in the Fitchburg Agriculture Route (FAR).

Fitchburg Agriculture Route (FAR) Bike Tour (PDF).

Very little parking near the marker location . . .

Stoner School students in 1957.

A marker reader!

A beautiful barn across the road from the marker location.

The property is located in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

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