COLUMBUS, Ohio – Educators, farmers, food producers, businesses and anyone else interested in beginning or expanding a Farm to School program or other related activities can learn how to do so from the experts during a series of Farm to School workshops April 29, 30 and June 10.
Ohio State University Extension will present the Farm to School workshops 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 Carol Smathers, an OSU Extension field specialist and the program’s director.
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.
Ohio’s Farm to School Program has projects and partnerships in many of Ohio’s 88 counties. Leadership of the program transitioned from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to OSU Extension in 2011. The Farm to School program works to ensure that students pre-K through college have increased access to locally produced nutritious food.
“The workshops are designed to inform participants about the benefits of and opportunities for buying and serving local foods,” Smathers said. “They are also designed to provide hands-on educational opportunities for students to learn about where food comes from and for those who want to try new menu items.”
Organizers hope that local producers will connect directly with potential school buyers at these workshops.
The workshops, presented by OSU Extension specialists, will also teach participants how to identify food safety practices for using local foods in school food services; identify resources for connecting local producers with local school food services; and use direct marketing tools to develop networks for procuring and supplying local foods.
Workshop sessions will include:
- State and national Farm to School update
- School food service perspectives on purchasing and serving local foods
- Food safety
- Making connections with local producers
- The education connection -- taste tests, school gardens, farm trips, and more
Registration information for the workshops can be obtained online at http://farmtoschool.osu.edu/events/workshops/.
Workshop dates, locations and costs are:
- April 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6165 Levis Commons Blvd. in Perrysburg, Ohio. Registration is $30 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and resource materials. Contact: Jan Meyer, Ohio Action for Healthy Kids Zone 1, 419-327-8969 or email at Jan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- April 30 from 3:30-7 p.m. at the Mt. Orab Elementary School, 474 W. Main St., Mt. Orab, Ohio. Registration is free and includes dinner. The deadline to register is April 20. For more information, contact Jenny Even at 513-946-8987 or email@example.com.
- June 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Inn at Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, in Nelsonville, Ohio. Registration is $25 and includes lunch. For more information, contact Ruth Dudding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Farm to School program can be found at http://farmtoschool.osu.edu. Other workshops will be held Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. More information about those workshops, including registration costs and deadlines, will be available at a later date.