Farm to School
So much is "growing" on with our Farm to School program. Farm to School connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias; improving student nutrition; providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities; and supporting local and regional farmers. Over the past decade the School Nutrition Department has been purchasing from Hillside Orchards, Ledgeview Gardens, Alpha Baking and Seasonal Harvest, a cooperative of local farmers. More recently, we have added local cheeses to our service lines through the distributor, Laack Cheese. We have also had the opportunity of serving "hyper local" food to our students directly from our school gardens and Fork Farm hydroponic towers. Students are offered local produce on the lunch line every single day. Students have tried items like watermelon radishes, orange beefsteak tomatoes, colored carrots and cauliflower, and dragon tongue beans. We truly embrace our vision statement Fresh Local Food for Healthy Local Kids!
Farm to School is not just a single school or school district initiative. It takes a village to support such an important mission. We are so grateful to be a part of our local Farm to School community. Thank you to Wello for the partnership in connecting our school to our local farms. There are nine school districts participating in the Brown County Farm to School Task Force, which served over 28,000 pounds of local produce in their schools and purchased over $195,000 of produce directly supporting our local farms in 2020-2021. During the 2022-2023 school year, our school district served over 5 tons of fresh, local food to our students and staff. The 2020-2021 Brown County Farm to School Report describes how we come together to build a food system to benefit all. Wello recently reported that "over the course of our most recent USDA Farm to School implementation grant (2020-2022), there was a 483% increase in the amount of local food purchased for school meals." We are so proud to be a part of this community partnership! Check out our 2020-2021 De Pere Farm to School Report to see how our students have been connected to our local farms and their healthy, fresh produce.