Cornell Cooperative Extension and a coalition of health agencies called the Chautauqua Health Action Team have received a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to expand Farm to School activities in Chautauqua County schools.
The goal of the program is to improve the health and agricultural literacy of students in Chautauqua County by conducting a county-wide Farm to School project, with each participating school purchasing and providing at least one locally-grown crop in their cafeteria and incorporating health and agriculture curriculum in the classroom.
In order to participate in this grant program, each school will need to purchase a locally grown crop for their cafeteria. Schools can choose from one of these specifically selected crops this fall: carrots, squash, potatoes, and onions or garlic. The crops were chosen based on seasonal availability.
Farms growing the above crops and interested in selling to schools are encouraged to contact Cornell Cooperative Extension to find out more about how to get involved. Cornell Cooperative Extension will march schools with sources of locally grown crops during October and November.
In exchange for participating in the Farm to School program, each school is receiving a tool kit that includes information on getting started, Farm to School curriculum, marketing and display materials for the cafeteria, recipes, a cafeteria tools package, educational trainings for school staff and on-going support throughout the school year. The application deadline for schools is Friday.
Across the country, Farm to School is increasingly recognized as an effective and integrated approach to addressing several issues simultaneously: child and adolescent health, diet and school meal quality, food and agriculture system awareness and understanding, local agricultural market viability, and food and agriculture system entrepreneurship. Farm to School Programs have been shown to increase nutrition and agricultural literacy, improve the health environment of the school community and provide economic benefits back to local farmers.
For more information, contact Ginny Carlberg, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, at 664-9502, ext. 202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.