COLUMBUS, Ohio – A salad bar will be up for grabs during the Farm to School conference hosted by Ohio State University Extension March 13, thanks to a donation from Whole Foods Market that will allow a local school to set up the salad bar in its school cafeteria, organizers said.
OSU Extension, with the support of the Ohio departments of Education, Health and Agriculture, will host the Farm to School conference as part of its goal to expand the successful program, which works to increase students’ access to healthy foods and to help them learn more about food, health, nutrition and agriculture, said Julie Fox, director of the Ohio Farm to School program.
The salad bar package will be presented to a local school chosen from among conference attendees, Fox said. The salad bar donation is part of the nationwide Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which aims to donate 6,000 salad bars to schools across the country.
Whole Foods will donate the salad bar in collaboration with Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Seed to Salad project, Fox said.
Farm to School is a national program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension and is supported by numerous agencies, foundations and industry organizations. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
The conference theme is “Let’s Grow! Farm to School,” and will feature three keynote presentations, 10 panel sessions, a curriculum showcase, a salad bar showcase and other displays designed to illustrate opportunities farmers, schools and community leaders have to work together to increase students' knowledge and access to healthy foods.
Keynote speakers include Anupama Joshi, executive director, national Farm to School Network; Deborah Kane, national director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Program; and Debra Eschmeyer, director of policy and partnerships, FoodCorps. OSU Extension Director Keith Smith and other leaders in Ohio will also join in the day of information sharing and networking.
Registration for the Ohio Farm to School Conference, which will be held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, is now open to the first 250 registered participants, Fox said.
The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is $50 and includes conference materials, jump drive with Farm to School resources, breakfast, lunch, free parking and more.