Potsdam Central gets first batch of produce from Farm to School Program
From left, Dave Gravlin, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Shared Food Service Director; Artie Frego, SLL BOCES Director of Food Service Management; Will Trithart, owner, Big Spoon Kitchen; and Maria “Flip” Filippi, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s local food program leader.
CANTON -- St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES delivered the first batch of produce to Potsdam Central School on Sept. 24 as part of the new Farm to School Program.SLL BOCES was the recipient of $79,615 in grant funding for a Farm-to-School program, which operates in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County and Big Spoon Kitchen.
The funds support a system which enables schools to purchase locally grown foods from 25 producers and growers in the region.
The CCE coordinates with producers to purchase vegetables, fruits, and other locally grown foods.
Big Spoon Kitchen then provides minimal processing and packaging to prepare the foods for consumption in school cafeterias across the North Country.
SLL BOCES delivers the food directly to the 21 participating school cafeterias, which serve roughly 18,600 students daily.
The grant funding also provided for additional capital improvements to the CCE’s Harvest Kitchen, including a walk-in cooler and dry goods storage space for finished products awaiting delivery.
“We are thrilled to have this program up and running for the 2018-19 school year. The farm to school program will provide a market for our local farmers to sell their products, and benefit the thousands of students who will enjoy fresh, healthy food each day. This is a true example of partnership and collaboration and we are proud to act as a model for the rest of the state,” said Artie Frego, Director of Food Service at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.
“Extension is very pleased with the progress this partnership has forged with the Farm-to-School Program. The resulting process addresses many gaps that have existed in the local food system, as it related to getting usable local products into school districts. This includes sourcing raw product, processing and packaging it, storage, and distribution. We remain very optimistic about the potential impacts of this program,” said Patrick Ames, Executive Director of CCE of St. Lawrence County.
CCE will conduct a “Know Your Farmer” campaign in conjunction with the Farm to School Program to help students better understand and appreciate where their food comes from.
For more information about St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, please visit www.sllboces.org.
To learn more about the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, visit http://www.stlawrence.cce.cornell.edu.