April 2022- Southwestern Region Farm to School Feature
Ohio Farm to School Monthly Newsletter
Cultivators + Classrooms + Cafeterias
Issue # 6 | April 2022
Students taste-testing healthy, local foods in Cincinnati. The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council and Feed Our Future will offer opportunities for schools to host a Local Menu Takeover next school year!
Welcome to the March edition of the Ohio Farm to School Newsletter featuring Farm to School efforts throughout the southwest region of the state. These efforts include an overview of Cincinnati’s innovative farm to school plan, Adams Brown Head Start’s fun and tasty garden initiative, and Hamilton County R3Source’s high school food waste educational initiative with La Soupe.
For questions related to Farm to School in the southwest region, contact Kristine Cahall-Dosch, Farm to School Regional Lead at the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council.
Counties in the southwest region include: Fayette, Clinton, Highland, Adams, Brown, Clermont, Warren, Hamilton, and Butler
Cincinnati Farm to School
Southwest Ohio is focused on influencing institutions and policies while bringing together key partners in the region and across the state to work on all aspects of Farm to School (F2S).
Southwest partners, including the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council (GCRFPC), used regional health planning processes to guide institutional buy-in for F2S. By seeking out and actively participating in the regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) processes, they were able to raise the importance of F2S as a health strategy to address diet-related disease. The recognition of F2S as a strategy prioritized by the CHIP helps bring resources to further F2S work.
As part of their USDA F2S Implementation Grant, GCRFPC launched a Farm-to-School Ag Ed Curriculum Team. With a mission to improve the health and well-being of school children and increase the demand for local food procurement, they will be developing a toolkit for bringing school grown food into school cafeterias.
Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and F2S partner, What Chefs Want, have been able to mitigate recent fresh produce supply chain gaps through their joint effort to develop a regional food system. The CPS Board adopted the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) in 2019 with a commitment to values-based purchasing. In combination with emergency USDA waivers, this work resulted in increased local food purchasing for school food service during the pandemic.
Side salads served in Cincinnati Public Schools feature cucumbers from Holthouse Farms and Lobenstein Farms, grape tomatoes from Riehm Produce and Lobenstein Farms, yellow peppers from Fox Tail Farm and Riehm Produce, and Sunny Crunch lettuce from Bright Farms.
Adams Brown Head Start Garden Initiative
The following text and images are courtesy of Adams Brown Head Start Garden Initiative Presentation
“ children learned about gardening tools and the importance of worms and other garden helpers. Planting the seeds was the easiest part. Now to wait…”
“The first fruits of the labor appear. They do not look much like food yet, so there is more waiting and tending.”
“Some of our foods grow faster than others. Some of our foods grow as leaves, some as stems, some as roots, and some as flowers or fruits.”
“As each plant grows, we discuss which part we will be able to eat.”
“We harvested as many vegetables from our garden as we could – beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and FINALLY potatoes and carrots.”
“Finally, we get to eat the fruit of our hard work and patience. Was it worth the wait? Some of us thought it was very tasty!”
Want to be featured in the next monthly newsletter and on Ohio’s Farm to School Websites? Share your F2S success stories with us! Submit your F2S Success Story here!
Hamilton County R3Source
High school students in Hamilton County visited a local food rescue organization and kitchen, La Soupe, as part of an educational initiative by Hamilton County R3Source. The students learned about La Soupe, discussed the causes and effects of local food waste, practiced chopping skills, prepared food for donations, and even learned how to creatively use ingredients for improv cooking. Knowing how to properly prepare local food and use it creatively is crucial for reducing food waste as well as improving nutrition.
Students practice knife skills, improve cooking skills, and prepare food for donation.
News and Events
School Gardens of Ohio Network Meeting
Come and learn about the Mid-Ohio Food Collective’s Smart EduFarm of the Future using emerging technology on a seven-acre plot in Columbus, Ohio! Vertical farming, hydroponics, aquaponics, and more will be highlighted.
4H Project Green Teacher Hybrid Series; School Garden Education Series
4-H Project Green Teacher is a school garden educational program for school and afterschool educators and others who are engaged in or would like to learn more about gardening as a context for learning. Find additional information and register here.
Ohio Farm to School Network Quarterly Meeting
The next Ohio Farm to School Network meetings will be held June 9th, September 8th, and December 8th. State-level updates will take place at 9:30-11, with region-specific discussions 11-noon. For more information on Ohio Farm to School, visit the website and Facebook page.
Funding and Resources
Swaco Announces 2022 Grant Recipients
SWACO announced it will be awarding more than $94,289.85 in grant funding to local organizations, city governments, schools and non-profits in Central Ohio as part of its annual Community Waste Reduction Grant program. Applications open early April. Proposed projects and programs should address the unique waste reduction, diversion, and recycling needs of central Ohio; emphasize partnership building and collaboration, and address opportunities to leverage the waste stream for community benefit.
You’re Eating Podcast: Episode 4 – The Big Problem of Food Waste What You’re Eating is a podcast series from the team at FoodPrint. Their collection of podcasts shed light on the food system and the culture of food. In this episode, FoodPrint talks to experts about why food waste matters and addresses how one can reduce kitchen waste.
Thank you to the following contributors:
Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, Local Food Connection and local farms mentioned, Cincinnati Public Schools, Adams Brown Head Start, Hamilton County R3Source.
Haley Scott, Ohio Farm to School Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension
Lauren Preston, Ohio Farm to School Program Intern, Ohio State University Extension