National Farm to School Month
This October, schools in Missouri and across the nation marked the first National Farm to School (NFTS) month. As food service staff introduce more fresh, local foods to their students, parents, farmers and other community members got involved.
Farm in the Community
Jean Corbett and Gateway Greening
Oct. 24 — Twenty-six years ago a few active community members went in search of vacant lots and people to start community gardens around St. Louis. They would go knocking on doors saying, “Let’s start gardens together!” And so began Gateway Greening. What once was a small volunteer group has become an organization supporting more than 200 active community and school gardens in the city of St. Louis. “Since education has always been a vital piece of the organization, it was natural for us to get involved with schools,” Jean Corbett, education coordinator for Gateway Greening, says. Gateway Greening currently partners with 60 schools to build gardens on school grounds, provide hands-on gardening experiences to children, and improve food access in the school and surrounding community. Read more…
Farm to Hospital
Freeman Health sets a healthy example
Oct. 17 — You wouldn't trust a cab driver whose car looked like it had been in multiple accidents or a plumber whose own house kept flooding. Heather Boline, a registered dietitian at Freeman Health System, says the same is true of hospitals.
At Freeman, the decision was made to focus on more than just healing and to practice what they preach about healthy lifestyles. This summer, the health system began offering patients and employees fresh, local produce such as blueberries and cucumbers in its cafeteria. Through a connection with local farmers, Freeman also created an onsite farmer's market where employees can purchase the freshly picked produce. Read more…
Farm to School
Carmen Fischer and the Rockwood School District
Oct. 10 — Carmen Fischer, director of child nutrition at Rockwood Public Schools, learned the importance of supporting local farmers first-hand from her dad who uses organic practices on his small farm in Illinois. She developed an appreciation for grass-fed meat and fresh from the farm produce early on and believes the quality and taste of local food is superior to food shipped in from thousands of mile away. She purchases local food whenever possible, saying “I understand the farmers’ side and am willing to pay higher prices for food that is locally grown.” Read more…
Farm to Childcare
Christy Frazier and Farm to Child Care
Monday, Oct. 3 — A new program in St. Louis is tackling the issue of food deserts, places that lack grocery stores and access to healthy food. The Farm to Childcare Program, in partnership with Sappington Farmers Market, a farmer-owned grocery store and distributor that features locally grown food, is providing fresh, local food to 20 child care centers in the St. Louis area. Christy Frazier, coordinator of the program, talks about the importance of this program, saying, “In areas where there are no grocery stores and parents don’t have cars, some children have little chance of being exposed to fresh fruits and vegetables.” Read more…