September 2016 Newsletter
Ohio Success Stories
Ohio Farm to School is celebrating local successes in the “Three C’s” of Farm to School: Community (local foods procurement), Cafeteria (menu creation, kitchen remodeling, and chef involvement), and Classroom (school gardens and education).
We’ll be posting at least one story per month – so check back often!
By Amy Fovargue Arps Dairy of Defiance, Ohio has been serving milk to northwest Ohio schools for 80 years. “At Arps Dairy we get raw supply from individual dairies within our community. The milk is [literally] coming from the farmer down the road. We have a lot of loyalty with our brand, because we have a local mentality in our area. We are big supporters of our schools and especially the children of our community. We do a lot of donations to the schools for the proms, band boosters, and athletic boosters,” said Adam Donaldson, Vice President of Arps Dairy. During the school season Arps Dairy produces 3.5 million units of half pints of milk with the majority being used […]
By Amy Fovargue Building Staple Crops into the Farm to School Movement When the Farm-to-School movement began, its focus was to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to school cafeterias around the country. But what about grains, beans, flour, tortillas and all the other products that come from staple crops? These crops, grown right here in Ohio, and the biggest part of our calories and nutrition, were missing from the local school food movement. Enter Shagbark Seed & Mill, an Athens based grain mill and beanery launched to address food security in the region so the best tasting, freshest, and most nutritious staple foods reach Ohio’s tables. Today, Shagbark’s flour, beans, and tortilla chips can be found in many dining halls […]
Wondering how to make use of the census data on a local level? Wondering how your county compares to Ohio as a whole in advance of your 2016 farm to school regional workshop? Our friends in Lucas County, Suzanne Saggese, Graduate Student, Agriculture and Extension Education, and Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, put together a guide for summarizing county information from the Census. From the USDA: Dig into the USDA Farm to School Census Data! The Farm to School Census is valuable tool for increasing the use of local foods in school meals, growing the number of school gardens and expanding the number of opportunities for food, agriculture, and nutrition related activities in school related settings. For example, the […]
By Amy Fovargue We congratulate Ohio’s winner of the “One in a Melon” award, Minerva Local School District in Stark County! They received the most votes from parents, teachers, community stakeholders, students, and others who recognized the incredible work they’re doing through their farm to school programs. Stacey Bettis, the 2,000-student district’s food service director, tells us that their school is striving to educate the whole child by providing the following: Healthy Living Awareness Agriculture Awareness General Curriculum A County-Wide Grant In 2015 the Stark County ESC received a $43,000 farm to school planning grant benefiting more than 36,000 students in eight districts located in rural, urban, and USDA designated food deserts in Stark County, Northeastern Ohio. Of these students, 43% […]
By Amy Fovargue Floyd Davis of Red Basket Farms, Kinsman, OH noticed a couple of years ago that there is a dramatic interest in Farm to School, and spotted a new trajectory for his operation. “We are one of very few farms that can grow produce during the school year with our hoop houses. We are getting healthier foods into the schools and trying to make a difference in the cafeteria. Our biggest challenge is having the capacity to meet demand from our customers. We are being contacted weekly by new customers,” he said. Through the years, Red Basket farmers have heard from shoppers at the farmers markets about how bad school lunches are. There has been a tremendous interest […]
By Amy Fovargue Judy Hanes, a retired kindergarten teacher in Lucas County, combines her passion for working with children and gardening by leading a year round garden club at Hawkins Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio. This is the fourth year for the garden club led by Hanes, who is also a Master Gardener Volunteer. The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohioans through their local Extension office. “I wanted to have a garden club with the older kids, but they were not as interested as the younger ones. Currently the club has 12 students that are multi-age, with […]
By Amy Fovargue Federal Hocking School District in Athens County is a top school district in the state for having the highest percent of their food budget spent on local food, according to the recently released USDA Farm to School Census. How does a low-income Appalachian school become ranked as a top district in our state for serving local food? It takes a lot of passionate people supporting their food system. Here is their story. “We need to brag about what we are doing! We keep striving forward to make sure our kids get the best food possible. They (students) are our customers and we want to make them happy!” said Mike Kubisek of COMCorps/AmeriCorps. Kubisek volunteers with COM (College […]
By Amy Fovargue Two school day events were held in 2015 at the Chesterhill Produce Auction, a rural food hub operated in Morgan County by the nonprofit Rural Action. Last spring, 170 students from The Plains Elementary and Alexander Elementary learned about the local food system by actively participating in planting, composting, nutrition, cooking, insect sampling, a mock auction, philanthropy, and food access and distribution. Rural Action’s Environmental Education Coordinator, Joe Brehm, developed curriculum that met the appropriate learning standards. Jennifer Trainer, a teacher at The Plains Elementary School said, “Our second graders enjoyed themselves and learned a great deal about local food.” Trainer was pleased to have demonstrated at the auction the main science standard: observe and ask questions […]
By Amy Fovargue and Carol Smathers “We used to be known in the community as the school with all of the bad kids, but now we are known as the school with the gardens. Our reputation has changed for the better,” said Daniel Trujillo, superintendent of the Lighthouse Community School of Cincinnati. The Lighthouse, a 65-student behavioral school for children in foster care, offers an Urban Agriculture Program for students in seventh grade through high school. In 2010 they started with two 4X4 foot boxes to garden, planted in raised beds in the corner squares of the parking lot where no one was able to park anyway. Thanks to the encouragement of Liz Solomon of the Ohio Department of Education […]