Viroqua SOUP is a micro-granting, crowd-funding event celebrating and supporting creative projects in Viroqua. For a suggested donation of $5, attendees receive soup, bread, and a vote, and listen to four project pitches that can include anything from an art installation, to a community event, to an entreprenuerial start-up, to a social cause.
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A team from Viroqua Middle School pitching a garden-to-table project was the first crowdfunding recipient in Viroqua’s SOUP program.
The Viroqua Chamber-Main Street partnered with Driftless Books & Music to put on SOUP in Viroqua, Wednesday, April 6.
The SOUP program began in Detroit, and the concept has spread throughout the country. The concept is simple, a group dines together, listens to two-minute “pitches,” or proposals, and then votes on a winner. The winner takes home the proceeds from the evening and gets to work on their project.
Soup, bread and drinks were donated by Village Market, Driftless Café and Watercest Café. Participants paid $5 at the door.
A Viroqua Middle School team that pitched an idea for a garden-to-table project walked away with $536.92 that night.
VMS educators Vernon Daines and Brianna Joy submitted the proposal.
In fifth grade, the study of plant life is an essential part of the science curriculum.
According to the project summary, “As we cover many different species, we will go much deeper learning about two specific plants which will provide us an authentic experience of learning the entire cycle from seed to planting, to growing, to harvesting, to preparing a meal involving kale and tomatoes. Students will be fully engaged and involved in the entire process. We will also utilize this learning during Art class through having students produce drawings of the plant parts and design the layout of the garden with drawing pencils and watercolor paints.”
The SOUP money will help VMS purchase gardening tools, such as shovels and hoes, seeds, tomato braces/stands, natural fertilizer and ground cover. Flowers will also be purchased. Research will be done to see which flowers attract the bugs from kale and tomato plants as a natural way to preserve the growth and life cycle of the plants students plan to harvest and eat. Colored pencils, watercolor paints, drawing paper and watercolor paper will also be purchased.
More than 100 people attended.
Eddy Nix, owner of Driftless Books & Music, said the SOUP program came together simply and required little preparation.
“With less mediation between people to set things up, it just made for a more wholesome event,” Nix said. “You could sit back and talk with other people. It came together well.”
Nix added it was fun to watch the middle school students “win” with their idea.
“It was the best possible project and the children were just charming,” Nix said.
The next SOUP is tentatively scheduled for July 6. For more information about this program, contact the Viroqua Chamber-Main Street at 608-637-2575.