farm to school

Farm To School

Campbell-Savona students learn first-hand where their food comes from

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County (CCE-Steuben) kicked off their receipt ofa NYS Farm to School Grant by hosting a farm to school event atCampbell-Savona Elementary School in Savona on March 23. During the students’ lunchtime, youth learned about agriculture, met some local producers, and sampled a veggie patty, yogurt, milk and local potatoes. Over 600 students and staff participated, as well as Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler; Steuben County Chairman Joe Hauryski; and Joe Kilmer, Regional Food Service Director at GST BOCES. GST BOCES cafeteria management was key in helping coordinate this event with CCE-Steuben and the Campbell Savona Elementary School.

Several local farmers set up educational display tables about their products including: Upstate Niagara Cooperative (handing out milk and yogurt), Leo’s Honey House (showcasing beekeeping), Crooked Line Farm and Orchard (showcasing local apple production), and Bluebird Trail Farm (showcasing a diverse agriculture operation).CCE’s Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York program offered the samples of garden vegetable patties, and the school cafeteria added the local potato dish to their menu that day to help celebrate the event and showcase the Farm to School connection.

The event was scheduled during New York State’s Agriculture Literacy Week, a week dedicated annually to celebrate agriculture and foster awareness and appreciation for how food gets to our plate. Each year during Ag Literacy Week, a special book is highlighted. The 2018 book was entitled Before We Eat: From Farm to Table, by Pat Brisson and illustrated by Mary Azarian, and displays the vast opportunities and diversity that New York agriculture encompasses. Students are taken on the journey from farm to table to understand different aspects of agriculture and the many possible careers involved. It is a captivating glimpse on what it takes to bring the food we eat to us in order to nourish our bodies. Volunteers read this book to many Steuben County second graders during the week.

“The Campbell-Savona students were very engaged with the producers at the event,” said Stephanie Mehlenbacher, CCE-Steuben Agriculture Educator. “They asked great questions and showed great interest in the presentations.”

CCE Steuben received the NYS Department of Ag and Markets grant to partner with GST BOCES in increasing New York State farm products in school meals across the GST BOCES region. The grant will help CCE Steuben educate farmers in food safety to help them become eligible to sell to schools; educate students about eating local both in and out of school through events like this one and events like Farm City Day; and work to address barriers to successful farm to school programming by connecting farmers and schools. The goal is to increase the amount of local food in the region’s cafeterias.

CCE Steuben Executive Director Larkin Podsiedlik says, “We are grateful to receive this funding from New York State Ag and Markets, and grateful for the support that New York State legislators have shown for Farm to School funding. This project will bolster agricultural economic development by helping smaller farmers access new markets and will make sure that all children enjoy the delicious and nutritious farm products we grow in this area.”

Left to Right: CCE-Steuben Agriculture Educator Stephanie Mehlenbacher; CCE-Steuben Executive Director Larkin Podsiedlik; Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler; Steuben County Chairman Joe Hauryski; Assemblyman Phil Palmesano; and Joe Kilmer, Regional Food Service Director at GST BOCES.

Last updated March 27, 2018