Who are we?
Nourish is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin led by Executive Director, Heather Cleveland, and a Board of Directors. Our staff of program coordinator, urban farm manager, education coordinator, and administrative assistant help us deliver good-food programs to the community.
Since its inception in 2009, Nourish has supported and promoted local farmers by connecting kids and families in-need to the local food they produce. We believe that supporting local farmers also supports the local economy. Food less traveled reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and emissions while allowing the produce to be picked closer to ripeness. Produce harvested near ripeness also features the best nutrient content. Nourish partners with farms that encourage sustainable farming practices.
Optimal growing conditions lead to optimal products (enhancing nutrition, ripeness, and flavor)
Less stress on the environment through lower input and reduced transportation
Creates dietary variety throughout the year and encourages food preservation
Puts consumers in touch with their surroundings
Stimulates the local economy through direct consumer/producer interaction and/or through the support of local shops
Encourages community development in a self sustaining manner
- Encourages tourism by strengthening locally and regionally unique culture
Community: Connecting local resources and residents to one another.
Equity: Equal access to good food.
Local: Passionate about food produced by local farmers.
Collaborate: Collaborate with local farmers, volunteers, schools, shelters, and nonprofits for maximum impact.
Sustainability: Operating with respect for the precious but limited environmental and financial resources.
Educate: Delivering experiential education in classroom and community gatherings to share good-food knowledge.
Empower: Empower individuals and families to make informed decisions about the food they grow, purchase, or consume.
Why do we exist?
The prevalence of diet related health disorder is on the rise:
- Two-thirds of adults in Sheboygan County are overweight or obese.
- Diagnosed diabetes had increased in Sheboygan County from 5% in 2003 to 12% in 2014. 1
Despite disorders arising from poor diet and excess food consumption, low-income families in Sheboygan may struggle to put food on the table. A family’s food budget typically comes from what is left after paying for rent or mortgage, car payment, fuel, insurances, utilities, etc.
- The gap in diet quality between the wealthiest and poorest Americans doubled between 1999 and 2010. 2
- Over 2,000 children in the City of Sheboygan are at or below the poverty line. 3
The connection between food, learning and growing is critical. According to Tufts University 1994 publication “The Link between Nutrition and Cognitive Development in Children.”
- Undernourished children are typically fatigued and uninterested in their social environments.
- Such children are less likely to establish relationships or to explore and learn from their surroundings.
- Undernourished children are also more susceptible to illness and, thus, more likely to be absent from school.
According to one of the study’s authors, a broad approach that involves changes in education, policy, and the food system itself offers the best solution to improving the diets of low-income individuals.
Nourish offers proactive, experiential learning activities and programs to encourage individuals and organizations in our community to make more wholesome food choices by growing, cooking, and supporting our local food system. Together we can educate and empower people and create a healthy community.
1 Sheboygan County 2014 Community Health Survey Results commissioned by Sheboygan County Division of Public Health
2 A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine in fall 2014
3 US Census Bureau 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates
Board of Directors
Paul Bartelt, President
Vollrath, CEO & President
Kelly Cowhig, Treasurer
Sharon Bruckschen, Secretary
Kohler Co, Manager, Human Resources
EcoManity, President and Energy Auditor
Johnsonville Sausage, PR & Social Media Manager
Restoration Gardens, Owner
Retired Business Owner
Origin Foods, Owner
Heather Cleveland, Executive Director
Heather Cleveland joined Nourish as the Food Justice Director in 2013 and moved to the Executive Director role in 2015. Heather lived in Sheboygan from 2005 to 2011 and moved back to Sheboygan in 2014 with her husband Adam after she accepted the job with Nourish. Heather studied at University Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Urban Planning. Heather worked for several engineering consulting firms in both the environmental and waste management sectors before going back to school to for Urban Planning to study and learn a proactive, community approach to problem solving and design. She is an active member of our community and serves as the Board President of Goodside Grocery, is a professional mentor for Engineers Without Borders at UW-Milwaukee, and is a member of Sheboygan Service Club. She is always eager to learn something new and is passionate about food, people, and the environment. Heather strives to empower and engage people to be inspired and proactively change outcomes. She believes that food is a conduit through which we can reach many people and create a healthy community. Outside of Nourish, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, yoga, cooking, gardening, reading, knitting, riding her bike and living life.
Ryan Laswell, Program Coordinator
Ryan joined Nourish in May 2015 as Program Coordinator. His daughter and wife also reside in Sheboygan and moved here in 2011 from central Wisconsin after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Health/Wellness and Psychology. He moved to Sheboygan pursuing a career in wellness working with businesses to have successful wellness programs. Ryan works to maintain authentic knowledge of wellness such as nutrition and food literacy by working with local CSA farms that are also Nourish partner farms. His family has large gardens raising over 50 annual and perennial food crops along with rabbits, ducks, chickens, and honey bees. He generates compost for his gardens from tens of thousands of pounds of food scraps generated from local businesses. Most recently Ryan has worked to expand his breadth and depth of knowledge by attending conferences such as Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service and also becoming a Certified Wellness Practitioner through the National Wellness Institute. Outside of Nourish and farming Ryan enjoys coaching and playing soccer, traveling, games, and spending time outdoors.
Jake Lambrecht, Urban Farm Manager & Culinary Coordinator
Jake joined Nourish as the Urban Farm Manager in 2015 and took on the additional role of Culinary Coordinator in 2016. Before joining Nourish, he owned and operated Garden of Weedin’, a four-acre farm near Elkhart Lake, and started a CSA that served individuals and small businesses in Sheboygan for 8 years. Jake completed a 14-month agricultural internship at Springdale Farm and has received education in the culinary arts. He lives out his passion for food daily by growing fresh produce in his garden and cooking from scratch at home. When Jake is not busy in the garden or the kitchen, he is busy enjoying his favorite pastime of spending time with his wife and four children. He also loves spending time with his six cats: Twinkles, Fluffers, Meow meow, Burps, Toodles, and Alexander Romanov III.
Jon Ribich, Education Coordinator
Jonathan joined Nourish as the Education Coordinator in January of 2017 following prior employment at Nourish as an Urban Farm Manager. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he majored in neurobiology and worked as a research assistant for the School of Medicine and Public Health. Jonathan completed a 14-month internship in sustainable agriculture and community development at a demonstration farm and seedbank in Florida. He has worked internationally in research and food security with agricultural communities in Thailand and Myanmar and worked with a food sovereignty project on the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Outside of work, Jonathan enjoys outdoor recreation and is actively involved with backpacking, kayaking, and sailing in the Sheboygan community.
Heather Bassett, Administrative Assistant
Heather graduated from UW-Oshkosh with a degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Urban Planning and Community Development and a minor in Women’s Studies. Heather has gained experience through many jobs in and outside of her field. She has worked for a large-scale compost company, spent time working for the CSA farm Produce With Purpose, as well as completing an internship as an Education Intern at the North Eastern Wisconsin Zoo. Having grown up in Minocqua, WI, Heather enjoys the outdoors and is an avid cross country skier. She is also a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu.
What do we do?
From our Weekend Food Backpacks to our Community Dinners and Workshops, Nourish's Farm-to-School, Farm-to-Community, and Farm-to-Table programs reach throughout the community.
How do we do it?
We secured our first space in June 2015 when we moved to 1332 S. 13th Street in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (northwest corner of 13th Street and Georgia Avenue). In addition to this location, we also secured a two-acre garden across from RCS Empowers, now known as the Educational Urban Farm. With these additions, Nourish was able to increase program efficiency, create much needed infrastructure, and provide garden education on a regular basis.
What can you do?
Learn about volunteer opportunities. Become a Nourish Ambassador. Join a Committee. Help with food preparation. Sign up for a Farm-to-Table tour.
Make a donation to Nourish or join us for the Good Food Party.
Attend our events. Buy local, seasonal food. Grow a garden. Cook dinner at home.
A Note from Our Founder
We've come a long way since starting Nourish at my kitchen table with $500 and the "great recession" taking its toll on our community. The growth of Nourish has been a blessing disguised as a farm to table adventure. I've learned so much from the kids who greet us with a broad smile and strong hug despite the nag of an empty stomach and the homeless who tell tales of better days and work toward a brighter future. These are the lives of a significant portion of Sheboygan County...every other child in Sheboygan is at risk for hunger and our shelters are full. Still, thanks to you, good food from our local farm community is served and hope restored. Together we can nourish our community body and soul.
Carol Christensen, Founder
Nourish Farms, Inc.