Devonshire Elementary School students take apple-framed photos.
Welcome to the November edition of the Ohio Farm to School monthly newsletter featuring National Farm to School Month highlights, including the largest Apple Crunch yet! This newsletter shares Farm to School initiatives, school garden tips, a new smoothie recipe and upcoming events and opportunities!
Apple Crunch Spotlights
Over 413,000 Ohioans CRUNCHED into locally grown apples celebrating Ohio producers, nutritious foods and National Farm to School Month! The 2022 Great Apple Crunch was Ohio’s eighth annual event and gained the highest participation. Participating groups included schools, early childhood education sites (ECEs) and community organizations. In all, 2,217 sites hosted 211,200 K-12 crunchers, 147,000 ECE little crunchers and 55,000 adults. Many thanks to all the food service heroes and farm to school partners that helped make this the loudest Crunch yet!
To continue engaging in farm to school, visit Ohio F2S Facebook’s page for an apple-focused lesson plan featuring Crunches facilitated by Ohio orchards, a pumpkin dip recipe and a young Cruncher-led orchard tour. See this past virtual crunch event to learn where apples come from, how they get to the plate and more!
The Knox County Local Food Counciland several elementary schools conducted an Apple Crunch event, providing every student with an apple. As each student crunched their apple, the council invited them to put a finger-painted “thumb print apple” on a paper apple tree. A big thank-you to their event partner, Glen Hill Orchards, who generously donated 610 apples so that every child could participate!
To celebrate Apple Crunch and highlight other seasonal produce items, OSU Extension Franklin County hosted three events where participants sliced apples and made pumpkin fruit dip.
Ohio Department of Education
Ohio Department of Education Interim Superintendent Stephanie Siddens and the Department’s leadership team participate in the Apple Crunch!
Ohio Farm to School
Marion City Schools’ Harding High School, OSU Mansfield and OSU Marion partnered to start the Marion Microfarm. This effort hopes to inspire agricultural career paths among community members. The training site includes a quarter acre of outdoor production and a high tunnel. The site will be used by students and adults interested in starting small urban farms or learning about agriculture. This microfarm was installed this past summer, and they are growing their first crop of carrots and parsley. Richland Gro-Op, another partner, has provided a venue to sell the produce.
The Marion Microfarm contains raised beds and high tunnels.
Mansfield Middle School and Senior High School constructed a high tunnel to contribute to a new, county-wide agricultural technology program. The program will provide technical skills and agricultural training. Richland Gro-Op and North End Community Improvement Collaborative are also partners. The growers of the Richland Gro-Op will serve as high school student mentors. The school’s culinary program will use the produce generated.
Feed Our Future Report
Feed Our Future has released The Farm to School Bid Purchasing Summary, showing local food purchases of approximately $800,000. Feed our Future is a cross-sector collaboration that ensures all children have access to fresh, healthy and local food. This effort makes the navigation of purchasing local food easier and is compliant with federal procurement policy and procedure.
Feed Our Future and its partners create Farm to School bids in Northeast and Southwest Ohio school districts. Farm to School bids support procurement of produce and value-added products containing local ingredients while securing competitive pricing.
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!
School Garden Tips for November
Spinach, kale and cilantro are all great fall produce planting options. Growing Franklin publishes school garden tips weekly. Learn more about planting and growing using this resource!
Recipe of the Month
Smoothies containing fruit and yogurt can be nutritious and delicious. The American Dairy Association created this Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie which provides one ounce meat/meat alternative component, one quarter cup milk component, one half cup fruit component and one-eighth vegetable component per serving.
Check out the American Dairy Association’s Farm to School page, including their updated school kit and “Connecting Food, Nutrition and Agriculture in the Classroom” info sheet.
News and Events
Ohio Farm to School Network Quarterly Meeting
Mark your calendar and register for the next Ohio Farm to School State Network meeting on December 8, 2022.State-level updates: 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Region-specific discussions: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
For more information on Ohio Farm to School, visit the website and Facebook page.USDA Public Comment Request
USDA is requesting public commentregarding USDA Foods programs and barriers for small business use. Comments must be received by December 27, 2022.
Special Request for Farm to School Photos
In preparation for upcoming producer training sessions, please submit Ohio producer and school district photos, such as growing produce, harvesting produce, high tunnel/hoop houses, farm equipment, school lunches including local produce and more! Submit photos by December 6, 2022.
Farm to School Program Coordinator position available
Ohio State University Extension is expanding its Ohio Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education team! Applications will be accepted through November 30, 2022.
The 2023 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!
USDA will award up to $12 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the Farm to School Grant Program in FY 2023.Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for better health and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture.The RFA must be completed and submitted on www.Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on January 6, 2023.
New Ohio Department of Education Office of Nutrition Intern
Kara Johnson is an Ohio State University, Master of Dietetics and Nutrition candidate. Kara will complete projects associated with the F2S newsletter, grant funding and creation of produce fact sheets for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
Thank you to the following newsletter contributors:
Haley Scott, Ohio Farm to School Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension
Lauren Preston, Ohio Farm to School Program Intern, Ohio State University Extension
Kara Johnson, Ohio Department of Education Office of Nutrition Intern