Harvest Handouts

Student organization brings local produce, fresh from the garden, to you

Each Friday afternoon throughout the summer and fall, a line of students and campus community members who are eager to indulge in fresh, local produce forms in front of UHS on East Campus Mall.

Harvest Handouts, run by the student organization F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture, delivers high-quality, sustainably grown produce on a first-come, first-serve basis free of charge.

Named for the late UW-Madison professor Franklin Hiram King, who is considered to be the father of sustainable agriculture and soil physics, F.H. King distributes produce to nearly 200 people each week.

Photo: Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin

Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

This is a way of providing students with fresh, free produce,” said Morgan Menke, F.H. King’s administrative director and an undergraduate majoring in Community and Nonprofit Leadership. “It’s also an opportunity to educate students about the benefits of sustainable agriculture and new types of vegetables and ways to cook them.”

Leafy greens including lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as root crops such as beets and radishes, are available early in the growing season (June and July). As the bounty increases later in the summer, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, and a variety of herbs are available.

F.H. King student interns and volunteers harvest the produce from a student farm at the Eagle Heights Garden on Friday mornings, then sustainably transport the harvest by trailers attached to Full Cycle Freight bikes to East Campus Mall for Harvest Handouts.

Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

“It’s a sense of trust knowing that your food was grown in a way that benefits the soil as well as your body,” said Menke. “I also think it’s comforting to know that the food you get from Harvest Handouts was grown amongst friends.”

Nearly the entire bounty of produce grown in the student garden is distributed at Harvest Handouts each week. Produce that is not given away is donated to local food shelters.

Harvest Handouts is set up outside of 333 East Campus Mall on Fridays beginning at 1 p.m. and distributes produce until it’s gone. Remember to bring your reusable bag!

For more information on Harvest Handouts and F.H. King, visit http://fhkingstudents.wix.com/fhking.

Written by Kelsey Anderson, UHS Health Communications Specialist

Exploring the Dane County Farmers’ Market


Fresh produce, local vendors, and healthy choices – what’s not to love about the Dane County Farmers’ Market (DCFM)? Approximately 300 producers surround the Capitol on Saturday mornings with their pick of the season’s finest foods. With such a convenient location, diverse selection and scenic setup, there are very few excuses not to check it out!

The details

  • Saturday mornings: Capitol Square, 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday mornings: Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Visit the Dane County Farmers’ Market website for parking and location details.

Did you know…

  • The DCFM is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country – meaning that food is as close to the source as it gets.
  • All of the agriculturally-related items are produced in Wisconsin.
  • The DCFM has approximately 300 vendors each week, and about 160 attend every Saturday.
  • Producers are members of an organized co-op. Nine elected members serve on the Board of Directors.
  • The proud farmers’ market tradition was established in 1972 by Mayor Bill Dyke, who sought to unite Wisconsin’s rural and urban cultures.

So why should you shop there?

  • The dollars you spend go directly to the producers, so you’re supporting local farmers and economy.
  • The produce is freshly picked and in season, meaning that when you purchase, it’s at its peak in flavor and nutrition.
  • Fresh produce also means fewer pesticides and less processing. Translation: good for you!
  • Many farmers and vendors have recommendations for preparing their food – plus it’s a great way to try new things!
  • It protects the environment. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to your plate. Cutting down the distance by buying local saves resources like fossil fuels and extra packaging.
  • It promotes humane animal treatment, since the eggs, dairy, and meat for sale likely hasn’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics.
  • It’s a great way to connect with your community, and makes shopping more of a treat and less than a chore.
  • And, you know where your food comes from. Talking with farmers is a great way to learn about how and where your meals are produced, so you know what you’re putting in your body.

Words from a vendor:

We spoke with Gretchen Kruse, a long-time DCFM veteran with Hickory Hill Farm in Loganville, WI. Owned and operated by the Kruse family since 1892, Hickory Hill Farm has been a staple at the DCFM since its inception in 1973, and Gretchen Kruse took over the farm and market stall in 2011. Syrups and vegetables are Hickory Hill Farm’s specialties, but they also offer a variety of fruits, herbs, decoratives, nuts, and plants, and they pride themselves on growing all produce without herbicides and pesticides.

Describe a morning at the farmers’ market

Kruse: I leave home (Loganville) around 4 a.m. and arrive at the square around 5 a.m.  I unload and set up my canopy and tables first and then proceed to unload and put out all the other market items. Things start to come to life around 6 a.m., with some customers already arriving and starting to purchase items. Shortly before 6 a.m., Bill Warner walks down the sidewalk to gather and place the daily vendors in our line. By around 8 a.m., most of the early morning regulars have been by and the larger crowds start to roll in – and we’re off to another market day!


What processes does your produce go through before being sold at the farmers’ market?

Kruse: All produce is raised from seed, transplanted, picked, packaged, and sold fresh within two days’ time.  Grains are grown from seed, harvested, processed by a certified mill business, packaged, and sold fresh.  Eggs are gathered twice daily, washed, and refrigerated until sold.

What, in your opinion, is the advantage of buying and selling groceries at a farmers’ market as opposed to a grocery store?

Kruse: All of our items are harvested within the week and sold directly, unlike most grocery store items, which spend an extensive amount of time being handled, warehoused, and shipped before being displayed at the store for purchase. Buyers also get the opportunity to meet the producer face-to-face and learn how their food is produced and handled.  As a result, vendors tend to have more accountability to buyers because we have to face them every week.

Prep yourself for Saturday!

  • Feeling overwhelmed by the selection? The DCFM provides a full list of in-season produce to help you get the freshest food year-round.
  • The farmers’ market also distributes a weekly newsletter to help inform your shopping experience. Find out about new products available, related events, and seasonal recipes by signing up for this free resource.

Written by Alice Coyne, UHS Web and Communications Assistant


Ticks and mosquitoes and bees? Oh my!

Your guide to the summer’s most unwanted pesky pests

While these bugs play crucial roles in the stability and development of our ecosystems, they can occasionally pose threats to our health when coming in contact with us. Use this guide to learn more about the potential risks some of these creatures pose, how to avoid encounters, and what to do after a bite or sting.



Ticks are small parasites that bite and latch onto a host and feed on their blood. Ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, bushes, and high grasses. Ticks carry many blood borne illnesses, so be sure to take necessary precautions to keep yourself healthy.

Avoiding ticks

When hiking or walking in a wooded area, apply bug spray with DEET to repel ticks. Avoid walking directly through bushes or brush, stay on trails, and walk in the middle of the path. Upon returning from a hike, wash your clothes, bathe, and do a tick check, inspecting all parts of your body for ticks.

Removing a tick

If you find a tick, remain calm and remove it as quickly as possible. Using tweezers, clamp the tick around the part closest to the skin and pull upward. Avoid twisting or quickly pulling at the tick, because this may prevent you from removing the entirety of the tick. After removal, clean the skin area and dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or wrapping it tightly in tape or a sealed bag.

After removal

Keep an eye on the area of skin where you found the tick for a couple of weeks. If you notice a rash – particularly in the shape of a bull’s eye or target-or develop any fever-like symptoms, see your doctor right away. These may be signs of tick borne illnesses such as Lyme disease or borrelia miyamotoi.



Like ticks, mosquitoes feed off the blood of a host. They leave behind itchy bites and can carry diseases. Mosquitoes’ peak breeding season is during warmer months, so use these precautions to avoid and treat mosquito bites.

Avoiding mosquitoes

Apply bug spray that either has DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as the active ingredient, as recommended by the CDC and EPA. Wear clothing that covers the skin. Mosquitoes breed in bodies of water, so areas near water or areas that are particularly warm and moist will have more mosquito activity.

Bite treatment

If you are bitten by a mosquito, try to avoid scratching. An anti-itch cream may help with this symptom. In some cases, mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, yellow fever, malaria, and encephalitis. If you develop any fever-like symptoms or aches and pains, inform your doctor.



Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, bees typically won’t bother humans when left undisturbed. However, they can sting when they feel threatened, at best leaving a pesky bump and at worst causing a severe allergic reaction.

Avoiding bees

Be careful not to walk through flower gardens or plant bed areas where bees are pollinating. Wear shoes when walking in grasses to avoid stepping on a bee. Occasionally, bright prints or sweet foods and drinks may unintentionally attract bees.

Treating a sting

A reaction to a bee sting may vary depending on how allergic a person is to the bee sting venom. If you or a friend experiences severe symptoms such as swelling, anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing, or dizziness, call 911 right away. If you or the stung individual carries epinephrine shots, more commonly referred to as an epi-pen for these sorts of allergic reactions, you still must go to the emergency room after this is administered.

For those who experience less severe reactions, home treatment for bee stings is quick and simple. Use an index card, your finger, or tweezers to scrape out and remove the stinger. Do not squeeze the stinger or venom sac, as this will inject more venom into the wound. Over-the-counter pain killers, antihistamines, anti-itch lotions, and ice may be used to treat mild symptoms. If any severe allergy symptoms occur, do not hesitate to call 911 and seek medical help.

Written by Gina Nerone, UHS Web and Communications Assistant


Safe swimming tips

“Summer” and “swimming” are practically synonymous in a state that boasts over 15,000 lakes. While swimming and other water recreation is a great way to enjoy the blissful summer months, it is important to recognize the dangers that swimming can pose if done unsafely. In 2013 alone, 52 deaths were due to accidental drowning in Wisconsin. If you plan on swimming this summer, keep it safe and fun by using this guide to learn how to prevent, recognize, and respond to drowning.

Prevent: Before you Swim

Use the buddy system

Make like you’re headed down the East Australian Current and grab your exit buddy. Make sure you can see your buddy at all times, and try to check in with them every few minutes. Designating a swimming buddy is particularly helpful if you’re with a large group, as it is much easier to be responsible for one other person rather than tracking every person at once.

Pack a flotation device

Having a flotation device on hand is a good way to ensure safe swimming ensues even if you or a member of your crew gets tired or experiences struggles while swimming. Most pools and docks will have a flotation device of some sort, but not all, so it is important to be prepared, especially if swimming in a more remote body of water.

Swim sober

Alcohol is involved in 70 percent of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation, the CDC reports. Alcohol not only inhibits judgement and may cause you to put yourself in a more risky situation, but also dehydrates you, making you more prone to cramp up while swimming. Drink plenty of water and other fluids instead of alcohol to prevent exhaustion, dehydration, and cramping.

Check the weather

Storms, wind, and lightening all present hazardous swimming conditions. Checking the weather and planning ahead of time is essential to water safety, particularly in a variable climate like Wisconsin’s.

Look for lifeguards

If possible, swim in locations that have a trained life guard on duty to provide assistance in an emergency situation. If you’re in Madison, check out this beach guide to check lifeguard hours and other amenities.

Recognizing: While on the Water

Drowning doesn’t look like “drowning”. Movies have led us to believe that a drowning person will scream and thrash around violently in the water, clearly signaling to rescuers that they are in danger. While persons experiencing aquatic distress, or growing tired in the water, may do these things, drowning victims likely won’t exhibit any of these behaviors. Here are signs to look for:

The person is quiet

In most cases, a drowning person will be unable to speak. Since breathing is the main responsibility of the respiratory system, less vital functions like speech will be impaired so long as breathing is not occurring.

Bobbing behavior

Since the drowning victim is struggling to breathe, their head will be tilted back in an attempt to quickly inhale and exhale. Their head will bob in and out of the water, with their mouth on the same level as the surface.

Lateral arms

The victim’s arms most likely won’t wave around for help, but will be outstretched laterally along the water’s surface in an instinctual attempt to remain afloat.

Vertical orientation

A drowning person will be upright in the water. They may attempt to swim but will remain stationary in their position in the water, and won’t use their legs to kick.

Glassy eyes

A drowning victim will struggle to focus on one particular thing and have a glazed over look in their eyes.

What does drowning look like? – Slate

Respond: What to do

If you’ve noticed a friend or fellow swimmer exhibiting any of the above behaviors or if you think they are struggling to stay afloat, here are some steps you should take to ensure that person returns safely to shore.

Check in

Ask the person, “Are you okay?” If the person doesn’t respond, they are likely in trouble, as their breathing has been impaired to the point of inhibiting speech. If they do respond, they are likely okay, but perhaps bring them a flotation device or encourage them to take a swimming break if you sense they might be experiencing difficulties.

Call for help

If you have established that a person is struggling, call for help by signaling a lifeguard or calling 911 right away. These individuals are specially trained to rescue drowning persons. A drowning person may unintentionally harm a rescuer by pulling them under water in an attempt to keep themselves afloat. Lifeguards and other trained professionals know how handle drowning victims, so proceed with extreme caution if trained help isn’t available. To ensure safety for both victims and responders, use the Reach, Throw, Row, Go Technique:

  1. Reach: Make sure that you have a firm and stable position before reaching for the victim. Lie belly down on a dock or hold onto a swimming pool ladder before extending your arm to the drowning person. If you are too far away to stably reach the person, have them grab onto a tree branch, a tee-shirt, or something else you have on hand that could be used to pull them to safety.
  2. Throw: If the person is too far away to safely reach, throw them a flotation device. A safety ring attached to a rope provided by the dock or pool is preferred, but use your own if this is unavailable.
  3. Row: Use a boat to paddle out towards the victim if you cannot throw a flotation device towards them. Bring the flotation device with to throw as you get closer, and when you reach to bring them aboard the boat, remember to double-check you are in a stable and secure position.
  4. Go: Only trained and highly skilled rescuers and swimmers should swim towards a drowning person. If there is absolutely no other option, swim towards the persona as a last resort, and be sure to bring a towel, a tee-shirt, or a flotation device with you for the person to grab ahold of. This allows you to keep a safe distance between yourself and them.

Written by Gina Nerone, UHS Web and Communications Assistant