Wood County Students Enjoy Locally Grown Produce
One of the best ways to get children to eat fruits and vegetables is to target their curiosity — get them interested in the seed-to-plate process. Schools around the nation have begun planting vegetable gardens at their schools, providing kids with a chance to get outdoors, work in the garden and grow foods they can enjoy in the cafeteria.
Schools are also partnering with local farmers, thanks to the Farm to School network. Farm to School connects K-12 schools and local farms to help schools serve healthy meals, improve student nutrition, teach children about agriculture and good eating choices, and to support local and regional farmers.
The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune recently featured a piece on the Farm to School initiative in the Wood County public school district. During the past year, students at Auburndale, Nekoosa, Port Edwards, Pittsville, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids schools have been treated to samples of locally grown food, including fresh baked Wisconsin potatoes.
Food service staff are also an important part of the program. Sue Anderson, local food procurement coordinator for the Get Active Wood County Farm to School program notes, “The more we can help make it easier for food service staff to integrate fresh, locally grown foods into their hot lunch menus, the better chance we have of creating a successful Farm to School program for the long run.”
The program isn’t limited to the lunchroom — students also learn about the locally grown produce in their classrooms. And they learn about Wisconsin potato growers like Joe and Barb Firkus of Sunny Grove Farms in Plover. The Firkus’ provided students with potatoes in January.
During February — National Potato Lovers’ Month — students will sample locally grown sweet potatoes. If you’d like your school to take part in the Farm to School initiative, we encourage you to email Sue Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.