Hometown Harvest celebrating food for Farfield school students
Hometown Harvest of Southeast Iowa is celebrating fresh, healthy foods for students in the Fairfield Community School District through the month of October as part of National Farm to School Month.
Iowa Department of Agriculture Land Stewardship is spotlighting the success of a national farm to school movement by donating fresh, locally grown apples to school lunch menus across the state.
Apples grown at Apple Tree Orchard near Lockridge are scheduled to be delivered Wednesday to Fairfield Middle School.
In 2010, the United States House of Representatives declared October National Farm to School Month, recognizing the strong role the program plays in promoting good health and strong economies.
According to Jan Swinton, southeast Iowa’s local food coordinator, southeast Iowans know about agriculture, but have not connected locally produced foods with schools, until the past couple of years.
“This year, we will be opening THE Greenhouse Project,” said Swinton. “In the greenhouse, we will grow fresh vegetables for schools year-round. It will be heated with waste heat from the Schaus Vorhies Manufacturing Plant on the historic Malleable Iron Foundry grounds. This winter, students will be eating fresh greens that are grown in Iowa.”
Swinton explained THE Greenhouse Project is a one-of-a-kind production facility heated by a hybrid system of underground air movement — earth tubes — and underground hot water movement that radiates into the soil. Funding partners in the project include: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture, Land Stewardship, TransCanada Pipeline and Alliant Energy.
According to National Farm to School Network, during the past decade, the farm to school movement has exploded across the United States, reaching millions of students in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. From school gardens and farm field trips to local food on cafeteria trays, farm to school practices help children connect with their food and make healthier choices while also creating new markets for local and regional farmers.
“By instilling healthy eating habits early in life, we’re preventing a health crisis and saving on healthcare spending along the way,” said Anupama Joshi, executive director of the National Farm to School Network. “There are other economic benefits as well. Buying direct from local farmers keeps 80-90 percent of each dollar in the farmers’ pocket, meaning more money stays in your community.”
NFSN has representatives in every state to help connect schools with local farmers.
For more information about Farm to School in Southeast Iowa, contact Swinton at 472-6177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.