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 […]
Ohio Farm to School Success Stories
Gardening and Nutrition Education Activities
Although Americans are spending time quarantining, there are plenty of positives to staying home together.
#1 it is finally spring and the perfect time to start a garden!
#2 Because families are spending time together at home, it’s a great time to spend some time gardening together.
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, recommends getting outdoors and spending time gardening.
“We need to get people outside doing the thing that is great for mental health. We can also be sharing some of those plants, doing some of that gardening, getting out of doors, single handedly can be alone. Being out there in nature is going to help you feel better,” said Dr. Acton.
Below is a list of Farm to School activities that have been adjusted to fit the current lifestyle- have fun taking Farm to School home!
#1 Plant A Seed Day: The at-home activity and resource guide for Plant a Seed Day! These activities will keep you busy all day long!
#2 Garden Journal: Start a garden journal to observe and track what is happening in your garden! What do you see, hear, and smell? If you haven’t started a garden yet, make sure to create a journal once you do have a garden to observe!
#3 Mini Garden: The guide to starting a miniature garden! Build your own small landscape indoors or outdoors with materials found around the house!
#4 SEEDS Guided Activities: The SEEDS activities from Scotts Miracle Gro, including pre-planned activities for every season!
#5 Seed Viewers: Super simple and fun to watch, these bean seeds in clear plastic cups allow young gardeners to watch seeds sprout and introduce them to the life cycle of plants. More at home activities from Kids Gardening can be found here.
#6 Harvest For Healthy Kids: A free evidence-based curriculum! Check out Harvest for Healthy Kids 13 FREE activity kits with activities, books and recipes that could keep you busy at home year-round!
#7 Exploring Hydroponics: Kids are always amazed to see plants growing without soil. This simple kid-powered system gives them a chance to experiment and explore hydroponic basics.
#8 Dairy Coloring Book: Break out some coloring pencils, crayons or markers and dive into the Undeniably Dairy coloring book!
#9 Growing Great Tasters: The Growing Great Tasters activity! As a family try one new fruit or vegetable every day for a week and record what you like!
#10 Relax and Read A Book! After so many active gardening activities, take some time to relax and read a book. Growing Minds children’s has a great collection of children’s gardening literature and many more activities!
For help or questions about gardening, contact your county's Extension office here. Find updated gardening information for Ohio on the Growing Franklin site.
Red Basket Farms Offers Spring Bounty to Local Schools
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 […]
Dedicated Community Makes Federal Hocking School A Top Purveyor of Local Foods in Ohio
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 […]
Field Trips to Produce Auction Inspire Student Connections to Local Food
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 […]
Lighthouse Community School Garden Growing Confident Students
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 […]
Food Hub Enables Akron City Schools to Source Local, Organic Foods
By Amy Fovargue and Carol Smathers Regional Food Hubs and Farm to School Regional food hubs are organizations that aggregate, distribute, and market food products from producers within that region. By combining products from farms of all sizes, food hubs help make it possible to meet the needs of wholesale, retail, and institutional buyers, including schools. Aggregating, distributing, and marketing foods on a regional level involves creatively solving the challenges of product pick-up and delivery, food safety procedures and related training, liability coverage, packaging and storage, and brand development. Some food hubs go even further to offer value-added product development and processing, local foods promotion campaigns, recipes and cooking demonstrations for using their products, and community employment opportunities. When it […]