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MOGO: A Wisconsin County on the Move!

A Monroe County elementary school student displays nothing but smiles after participating in a MOGO taste test.

A Monroe County elementary school student displays nothing but smiles after participating in a MOGO taste test.

Community members and organizations of Monroe County in Wisconsin have teamed up to create Monroe On the GO (MOGO). MOGO is a coalition dedicated to increasing access to healthy, affordable foods, one of the pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. As a Let’s Move Faith and Communities supporter, MOGO is a great example for how community partners are leading, organizing, and taking action to raise a healthier generation of kids.

The coordinator of MOGO, registered dietitian Lynn Edwards, collaborated with college dietetics students to teach elementary kids the importance of fruit and vegetables. The team visited five Monroe County schools to interact with children and hold a taste test, exposing them to new types of plant-based foods. The events were a success! More than half the kids tried a new fruit or vegetable for the first time. Because the foods had such a high acceptability rate, the schools added the new produce items to their menus. More squash, please!

But MOGO didn’t stop there! MOGO members worked with schools across the county to review their school wellness programs. They also deliver healthy messages to the public every month through local papers, radio stations, and newsletters. The most recent MOGO project is the Salad Bar 2 School Initiative. MOGO recognizes the importance of daily exposure to a variety of fruits and vegetables to increase children’s consumption of healthy, plant-based foods. MOGO engaged in the Let’s Move Salad Bars 2 Schools initiative to bring two salad bars to Monroe County schools in 2012. MOGO is determined to make salad bars a staple in all of their school cafeterias.

MOGO took three simple steps to improve the wellness of the people it serves. First, a community member took on a leadership role to establish that wellness is a priority in Monroe County. Then, MOGO partnered with USDA’s Cooperative Extension services through the University of Wisconsin and partnered with the Monroe County Health Department, the Mayo Clinic Health System, Viterbo University’s Nutrition and Dietetics students, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and others to build a coalition. Finally, MOGO built an action plan to implement its goals in the community.

Learn more about Let’s Move Faith and Communities by visiting www.letsmove.gov/communities and sign up to join our network of supporters!

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