July 2022- Cucumber Crunch, Agricultural Education Advocacy, and USDA Director Visit
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Ohio Farm to School Monthly Newsletter
Cultivators + Classrooms + Cafeterias
Issue # 9 | July 2022
A little cruncher makes a creative veggie caterpillar at La Petite Academy.
Welcome to the July edition of the Ohio Farm to School newsletter featuring a USDA Director’s visit to an Ohio school district, Ohio agricultural education advocacy, and cucumber crunchers around the state!
USDA Representative Visits Parma City School District
Sarah Bleich, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new Director of Nutrition Security and Health Equity recently visited Parma City School District. “Dr. Bleich is traveling the country to hear first-hand how communities are tackling food access, food security, and the ways work is being conducted to promote well-being in an equitable way” (Feed Our Future blog). The USDA recognizes that poor nutrition is a leading cause of what is making people sick and that food-related diseases hit harder in historically underserved communities. That is why USDA is building a nutrition security effort that focuses on four main pillars: support, healthy food, collaboration, and equity in the system. This work includes updating school nutrition standards and promoting nutrition education (Feed Our Future blog). Learn more about Dr. Bleich’s visit and USDA’s effort to support nutrition security on the Feed our Future blog here.
Agricultural Education Advocacy
Ohio group, Urban Farm Summer Experience has begun advocacy efforts to include agricultural education in school curriculum. Many schools around the state do not currently offer these courses due to funding criteria set by administrative hurdles and lack of a champion to maintain continuity within a particular school, among other reasons
The advocacy group is led by Julialynne Walker, Bronzeville Growers Market manager, Norman Brown, Kimball Farms, Aaron Hopkins, South Side Family Farms and Ava Johnson, Southeast Growers and Farmers Market. There are 15 students in grades 9-12 involved, with the majority being from the Academy for Urban Scholars and South High School. These students are working on four urban farms and community gardens for six weeks. This hands-on exposure is key to dispelling many myths about growing food overall and specifically within an urban environment. This experience will also expose students to selected occupations associated with a range of agricultural practices and aspects of financial literacy. This project is made possible through a grant from the Columbus City Council’s Youth and Workforce Development initiative.
Cucumber Crunch Highlights!
Celebrate Ohio Farm to Summer with the first ever Cucumber Crunch! Everyone is invited to Crunch into a crisp cucumber this summer to celebrate nutritious foods, local farmers, and Ohio Farm to Summer! Anyone who wants to show support for local farmers and summer foods is invited to crunch at any time this summer. Check out these crunch-tastic events happening around the state! Learn more about the Cucumber Crunch and register here.
Ohio State University Extension Fairfield County
OSU Extension of Fairfield County spent the morning at the Lancaster Farmers Market on a July Saturday morning. They made refrigerator pickles from cucumbers donated by Schultz Valley Farms. Around 200 shoppers crunched into local cucumbers!
La Petite Academy of Hilliard
These little crunchers made a tasty veggie caterpillar made of cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes while learning how to properly use a knife to cut their cucumbers! Jenny Lobb, Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Science Educator in Franklin County visited the site to teach this summer crunch activity.
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!
Farm to Summer Highlights
As part of the “Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant” (FIG) project with Ohio State University Extension, researchers are exploring needs related to purchasing, serving, and teaching about local foods in Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs. Muskingum County Head Start is one of nine ECE locations across Ohio working towards purchasing local foods this summer. The site recently had a berry tasting Family In Day where families were invited to enjoy locally grown berries. They even got to paint and eat the berries!
News & Events
Bronzeville Growers Market & Agricademy
Bronzeville Growers Market @MPACC’s Box Park occurs every Thursday, July 7 to September 29 | 3 – 6 pm at 927 Mt. Vernon Avenue. Free parking is located across from the market.
Bronzeville Agricademy is a free, creative format of online classroom instruction, production tours, and mentoring to promote a plant-based diet.
August 12-24 Heritage Grain School
Join Agraria Center for Regenerative Practice for an immersive, three-day Grain School to learn about the craft, culture, and cultivation of Ancient Heritage Grains! Grain school will be held August 12-14. Learn more and register here.
Thank you to the following newsletter contributors:
Feed Our Future
Julialynne Walker, Bronzeville Growers Market
Franklin County Extension
Fairfield County Extension
La Petite Academy
Muskingum County Head Start
Haley Scott, Ohio Farm to School Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension
Lauren Preston, Ohio Farm to School Program Intern, Ohio State University Extension