Farm to School in Stark County:
What You Eat Matters
Ohio State University Extension educators and the Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC) - together with 12 of its 22 districts - worked collaboratively to
begin a Farm to School initiative three years ago. With support from a Farm to School planning grant
($43,831) from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Farm to School work has impacted 56 school buildings and 36,554 students in Stark County. Of those students, 43% qualified for free and reduced lunch benefits. "We are very interested in connecting the local farm to the local school"
stated Joe Chaddock, Superintendent of the SCESC. "The Farm to School initiative will make this a possibility."
A favorite aspect of Farm to School for students was Harvest of the Month, a program where a vegetable was highlighted in the school lunch and classrooms. Last October pumpkin was chosen, many children had positive responses such as, "My taste buds like it"
and "It tastes better than I thought."
Data collected during the planning grant will help inform the Farm to School Community Advisory Coalition Team as they pursue an implementation grant in fall 2016. "Our goal for the initiative is to use fresh, local ingredients in school meals, to build relationships with local producers and to engage the students, families and community in striving for healthier lifestyles," said Tamra Hurst, Project Director, SCESC (who can be reached at 330-492-8136 for additional information).
[2 ]SCESC, Farm to School Community Advisory Coalition Team, "Stark County Schools: Connecting Food, Farms, Schools and Communities Coalition," February 22, 2016.