Farm to School Month highlights importance of sourcing local food

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – October is National Farm to School Month. It’s a time for schools to teach kids about the importance of sourcing their food locally.

In Fayette County, it’s a tradition this month to do locally sourced meals for the students during lunch time.

According to the Fayette County Schools Child Nutrition Director Andrew Pense, this idea helps local farms and schools establish relationships, and it’s been in the works for years. 

“This is something nutrition directors in West Virginia have been working on for more than a decade,” Pense said. “The real challenge is the aggregation and distribution of local food, and also sourcing it.”

The farms involved were New Roots Farm in Fayette County, Rainbow Farm in Summers, Garrett Growers Mountain Harvest Farm, and Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse. This Thursday, two schools got some locally sourced food. Oak Hill Middle, and Fayetteville PK-8.

“Our cooks have been cooking from scratch, so they can utilize local ingredients. Today it’s barbeque chicken on the menu, along with homemade rolls, a salad, and apple crisp.” 

Also involved was the Pro-Start program with the Fayette Institute of Technology. Much of the food was prepared by pro start students like Emily Hill, who’s pictured here fabricating fresh chicken for the school lunches.

According to Fayetteville PK-8 Principal Melissa Harrah, it’s vital to teach students about where their food comes from. Doing this early can establish good eating habits in the future.

“Knowing that the chicken they are eating is West Virginia raised allows the students to see that direct line from whole, unprocessed, healthy foods,” Harrah said.”

The school also does something they call West Virginia Wednesday. Every week, they source local food for the students. One item they source is cheese from Greenbrier Dairy, which is owned by an alumni of Meadow Bridge High School.

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