Farm to Table Wisconsin was started by Nick Bragg and Kimberly Kowalczyk in 2012 as a way to promote Wisconsin family farms, how they operate, what they offer, and how the community can purchase farm-raised products. Local farmers’ markets and other food-related events in the community will also be highlighted. Here’s the chance to learn about your local food resources and make informed decisions about what you eat and support.
For nearly his entire life, Nick unknowingly wore blinders. Whenever food was put in front of him, he ate it, no ifs, ands, or buts. Throughout nearly three decades of living by the “see food, eat food” mentality, not once did he step back from the table to analyze what he was actually eating nor think about how the food made its way onto his plate. Instead he ate it because all that mattered to him was that it tasted good.
Growing up, Nick’s family used to say he had the appetite of two grown men. However, they never understood how he didn’t gain a pound. A high metabolism and being active in sports was a major reason. But throughout his teenage years and his early 20s, he began to venture away from his mom’s daily home-cooked meals. He turned into an abuser of quick, cheap food. The dollar menu became a staple. So, too, did frozen microwave dinners. He mastered the art of cooking boxed maccaroni and cheese and packaged hot dogs.
With cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so prevalent in his family, Nick knew that if he continued to eat processed food that he would be headed down the same path.
As he started to develop a healthier lifestyle and researched the food he was eating, an unknown world of mega farms and industrialized practices was uncovered. Awakened in him was a new passion for supporting local farmers and a new-found approach to cooking with organically grown ingredients.
Nick graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005 with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and mass communication. He works as a multimedia journalist and editor for a local university. In his spare time he is an avid sports fan and enjoys landscaping and tending to his urban garden.
Kimberly was raised in a family with a long line of polish ancestors and grew up on a traditional polish diet. There was never a shortage of made-from-scratch, fresh from the field goodness set before her. Her grandmother, provider extraordinaire of these homemade dishes (that no one could ever seem to duplicate or replicate) lived to the age of 95 and passed away with hardly a wrinkle on her face. Not until the last few years of her life was there a need for medication to control any trace of an ailment. A borderline diabetic for a portion of her life, she was able to maintain the disease with diet and never the need for insulin or pills.
For Kimberly, as life got busier and life’s demands set upon her, it was easy enough to fall into the routine of quick processed foods. Gone were the days of grandma’s home cooking, replaced with frozen breakfast burritos, lunch breaks at the nearest sub shop and nights out with greasy food and drinks.
As one can imagine, this lifestyle caught up fast and started to take its toll. With lower energy levels, a slowing metabolism and a constant supply of Tums, Kimberly was determined to make a change. She started questioning everything that she had taken for granted for most of her life. How was modern-day food being made? How did the quality change over the years? And how had all of this been effecting the local farms so prevalent in the dairy state where she had been born and raised?
And so for Kimberly, with her revived appreciation for all things local, homegrown and handmade, she began the journey of becoming a locavore and share her new-found knowledge with others on the same path.
In 2004, Kimberly graduated from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee with a bachelor of arts degree in interior design and is actively working in the field. In her free time she dedicates her efforts to volunteering with various animal and humanitarian welfare groups.
Nick and Kimberly have been together since 2000 (married in Fall of 2008) and currently reside in Milwaukee with their three dogs, Brewer, Sutter and Griffen.