Farm-to-School Week Ends with More Student Involvement in Harvest

Post date: Oct 24, 2012 12:33:4 PM

‘Farm to School Week’ in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD concluded on September 30th. Since 2005, this annual week-long event has strived to bring locally grown food to the District’s lunch rooms in order to improve nutrition and create a greater appreciation for food from hometown farms.

Over the past seven harvest seasons, the WOCSD Nutrition Services, directed by Tyler Goodwin, has steadily increased the purchase of food from Chase Farm, Spiller Farm and Sunny Acres Farm, all located in Wells.

This year not only saw a continued increase in the purchase of locally grown food but the introduction of student and staff volunteers to participate in the harvest. In September and early October, up to twenty student volunteers and six Wells Junior High School staff took bus trips after school to Spiller Farm to help harvest bushels of carrots, green beans, and potatoes. The student and faculty participation on the farm was organized by WJHS Science teacher Saul Lindauer.

This year Spiller Farm agreed to devote space specifically for growing food for the District. Produce harvested from this area was sold to the District at a reduced cost. This new arrangement will allow Goodwin and staff to process and freeze a much greater volume of vegetables that can be offered throughout the school year.

Goodwin admits that buying locally adds work and costs to preparing school lunches but said that “the trade off is worth it to get farm fresh veggies” for students. Goodwin indicated that buying locally grown food provides fresh food high in nutritional value, a real ‘hands-on’ education for school children in the growing and harvesting of food, the reduction of a school lunch program’s carbon footprint and support for local farms.

For several years, the Maine Department of Education has encouraged schools to buy more locally grown food to support the Farm to School initiative. Tyler Goodwin firmly believes that what goes into growing and preparing food should be a part of a student’s learning.

Caption: WJHS student volunteers and WJHS staff pose with green beans that they picked on Spiller Farm in September of 2012. From left to right are Samantha Jones (Grade 5), Jessica Licardo (Grade 7), Abigail Bourque (Grade 7), Beth Cilluffo, Ethan Huber-Young (Grade. 7) Mary Rand, Caden Gibson (Grade 6) and Kerry Georgitis.