More Oregon school districts land farm-to-school grants
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Proponents say farm-to-school programs encourage agricultural learning, instill healthy eating habits and stimulate the local economy.
Eleven school districts will share $189,140 in state funding to purchase Oregon-grown food and implement garden-based education programs in their schools.
The Oregon Department of Education awarded the funds as part of a competitive grant process established under the Farm to School & School Garden Bill passed by the Oregon State Legislature in 2011.
"As a former school board member, and a State Representative, I am excited about how these grants can help both kids and farmers," said Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, in a press release. "In Lebanon, this grant will help students learn about growing and eating healthy food, including beef and pork from our very own high school FFA program."
The school districts receiving funds include:
- The Bend-La Pine School district will use $27,327 to establish a "boat to school" program that will procure fish from Oregon waters for school lunches.
- The Bethel School District in Eugene will use $26,420 to set up a comprehensive farm-to-school curriculum and buy Oregon-grown items for lunches.
- Centennial School District in Southeast Portland and Gresham will use $29,033 will start serving locally sourced lunches on Wednesdays and implement other healthy food promotions.
- Lance County School District No. 4J will use $29,033 to start buying tofu from Surata Soy Foods and tortilla and chips from Northwest Mexican Foods— both Eugene businesses — to augment lunches that include fresh produce from school gardens.
- Gladstone School District will use $11,233 to establish an ongoing buy-direct relationship with a local vegetable farmer.
- Joseph School District in northeast Oregon will use $2,334 to upgrade the school garden for a better learning environment and add locally raised beef to lunch menus.
- Lebanon School District will use $23,742 to help Future Farmers of America students build a business around processing the beef and pork they raise and marketing it to the food services department.
- North Powder Charter School will use $2,764 to maintain the school garden, add farm field trips, invite chefs to classrooms and host community dinners.
- Ontario School District will use $7,143 for a program to teach students about grain and how to mill it. Students will work with a local bakery to make whole grain breads, rolls, pizza dough, and buns for the district.
- Douglas County School District will use $29,033 to build a new learning garden and add new local items to the school menu.
- Sherman County School District will use $1,087 to set up a hydroponics system for growing vegetables in a school district green house.
Proponents of the farm to school program say that it stimulates economic growth in addition to encouraging healthy eating.
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