Media Advisory: Columbus School Lunch to Feature Ohio Foods on Jan. 25

Child with cafeteria tray

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Lunchtime in Ohio’s largest school district will take on a decidedly home state feel on Jan. 25 when Columbus City Schools kicks off a monthly effort to showcase Ohio grown, raised or processed food.

Branded as “Ohio Days: My Plate, My State,” school cafeterias will serve more than 52,000 Columbus schoolchildren with a meal that will include turkey from Bowman and Landes family farm in New Carlisle, gravy and dressing from Sandridge Foods in Medina, apples from Bauman Orchards in Rittman, milk from United Dairy in Martins Ferry, and a salad mix from Waterfields, a hydroponic facility in Cincinnati. Special guests will include Dan Good, superintendent/CEO of Columbus City Schools, David T. Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Carol Smathers, Ohio State University Extension state leader of Ohio’s Farm to School program.

“I am so excited about this effort because it will bring Ohio’s local food to 109 school cafeterias in Columbus,” said Smathers, Farm to School lead and field specialist in Youth Nutrition and Wellness for OSU Extension. “It will also demonstrate to other Ohio schools that buying and serving local foods can be done.”

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Ohio Days is a joint project of the City of Columbus, OSU Extension’s Farm to School program, and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Farm to School is a national program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension, and partners with numerous agencies, organizations and industry groups. Ohio’s Farm to School program has partnerships in all 88 counties. Leadership of the program transitioned from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to OSU Extension in 2011.

The Ohio Days group has identified more than 20 companies with the capacity to meet Columbus City Schools’ needs for local products including apples, turkey, chicken and beef products, shredded cheese, milk, corn tortillas, whole grain tortilla chips, lettuce, beans, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, squash and peaches.

All members of the media who wish to cover the event are welcome. Media will have parental permissions to video/film, photograph and interview select children.

Who: Kindergartners, first-graders and special guests (listed above)

When: Jan. 25, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
11 a.m. – Guests and media arrive and are welcomed in cafeteria.
11:20-11:50 a.m. – Guests will lunch with kindergarten and first grade students.
11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m. – Guests and media will move to the gym for discussion and Q&A.

Where: Starling STEM Pre-K8
145 S. Central Ave.
Columbus, OH 43222

Why: Bring Ohio local food to cafeterias in the state’s largest school district. Demonstrate to other Ohio schools that buying and serving local foods is possible. 

For more information, contact Carol Smathers at or 614-688-1801. Media who would like to attend should contact Scott Varner or Jacqueline Bryant.


Sherrie R. Whaley
For more information, contact: 

Carol Smathers
OSU Extension, State Lead Ohio Farm to School

Scott Varner
Eecutive Director, Strategic Communications and Public Relations
Columbus City Schools

Jacqueline Bryant
Communications Manager
Columbus City Schools