Farm to School is a nationwide movement to enrich the connection between communities and their local foods. Nutrition education, school gardens, and procurement of local foods for school meals are a few of the delicious ways we aim to nourish our community's wellness, economy, and environmental stewardship. Explore the pages here to find fun take-home activities, virtual field trips, school garden information, and much more!
October 2022 Newsletter
Spotlight: Locally Sourced Beef and Yogurt for OSD Meals!
Thanks to the efforts of the OSD Farm to School Program, ground beef used in school meals is sourced from Greenfield Farm in Iowa County, less than an hour from our schools.
Farm Spotlight: Greenfield Farm is owned and operated by the Gruenenfelder family (pictured below). Their first generation farm began as a dairy cow operation, but they have recently started raising pigs, cows, and other animals for meat as well. Jason and Kris Gruenenfelder are committed to sustainability in their agricultural practices. They have worked over the last few years with the National Resource Conservation Service to transition to regenerative grazing for their animals. This method helps to build soil and store carbon, as well as keeping the animals happy and free to roam. They are also big believers in our Farm to School and local food goals, and are excited to be providing local food for school meals. They already work with other regional school districts to provide local protein to kids, and we are happy that they will be working with us as well! In a few weeks, the Farm to School team will have the opportunity to visit Greenfield Farm and learn more about their operation. We will take notes and videos and share them with students so that they can get to know the people and processes that bring food to their lunch trays.
All About Beef: Our new weekly deliveries of ground beef from Greenfield Farm will play an important role in the meals and nutrition of Oregon students. Ground beef is used in a number of different school meals week to week. Meals made from scratch in our kitchens that will now include Greenfield Farm’s ground beef include the Sloppy Joe, Beef Tacos, Breadsticks with Italian Meat Sauce, and the Homemade Lasagna. In these meals, Greenfield Farm’s ground beef will serve as an important source of protein, which helps build muscle and keep kids energized and focused throughout the day. It also is a good source of iron, which supports red blood cell growth, as well as B vitamins and zinc which keep the immune system healthy.
Local Yogurt in America's Dairyland:
Farm to school has been hard at work after the introduction of local beef into school lunches earlier this fall, and we have another local food addition to report!
Yogurt at school breakfasts and lunches will now be sourced locally from Odyssey Brands. Odyssey is part of the Klondike Cheese Company, a 3rd generation business located in Monroe, Wisconsin, which also sources dairy from nearly 100 local Wisconsin farmers. The company makes various types of cheese, dips, and yogurt, but when they started producing 4 oz yogurt cups they reached out to OSD to see if we could use them in that size. Of course we were interested: their yogurt is award-winning and the new 4 oz yogurt cups are perfect for school meals. We are so excited to be working with them and getting delicious, local yogurt to our students starting on January 18th, 2022!
AmeriCorps Service Story
OREGON SCHOOL DISTRICT
QUARTERLY SERVICE STORY
Here in Oregon we’ve had a busy start to the school year: nutrition lessons in classrooms, virtual cooking clubs for kids, garden harvests, and cleaning up gardens for winter. Some of our biggest successes this fall, however, have been in local food procurement for school meals and taste tests.
In September, we connected with Raleigh’s Hillside Farm of Brodhead, Wisconsin to bring in fresh, fall-harvested yellow peppers as a vegetable option at lunch. Crunchy, sweet peppers were available at all of our schools. At Forest Edge Elementary, AmeriCorps Farm to School Specialist Isabel Greene spent the lunch hour chatting with the kids about what the peppers tasted like and where they came from - less than an hour’s drive away! No matter the time of year, talking about delicious food and healthy habits is always in season.
Golden bell peppers from Raleigh’s Hillside Farm in Brodhead, Wisconsin.
Starting in late September, our schools began sourcing local beef from Greenfield Farm in Iowa County, about an hour from Oregon. The farm is family owned and operated, raises grass-fed cows, along with other animals, and uses sustainable grazing practices that sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Ground beef from Greenfield Farm is now used in four different school lunch recipes that are in common rotation on the menu.
A student at Brooklyn Elementary takes a bite from an apple grown at Eplegaarden in Fitchburg, Wisconsin during the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch.
One of the many challenges the global pandemic has presented is disruption of critical supply chains - including food. According to School Nutrition Director Sarah Tomasiewicz, “Supply chain issues have significantly affected how food gets from the producers, to the distributors, and then to us.” However, these shortages present a unique opportunity for local producers to get in the game with school districts. Working directly with local farms provides not only a reliable supply and more flexibility, but also the opportunity to introduce students to the foods that grow near their communities and the idea of ‘eating with the seasons’. Some of our favorite seasonal foods Oregon students have tried this year are apples, purple radishes, cranberries, and more!
It’s Alive! Purple daikon radishes are ready to go for a lunchtime taste test.
Outside of the cafeteria, lots of great Farm to School things are growing too. Schools have been harvesting the last of their gardens (cabbage, kale, and pumpkins… oh my!) and putting the gardens to bed for the winter by removing weeds, turning the soil, and adding an insulating layer of compost or cardboard. But the gardening doesn’t stop there - indoors, 6th grade students have set up and are now managing a hydroponic grow tower. In the tower, the students are growing salad greens, tomatoes, and even strawberries. According to one student, “if we have a good harvest of lettuce, we’d like to bring it to the kitchen so they can use it for our lunches.”
In the new year, we will continue to increase the menued local foods in our schools. In January, we will begin serving local yogurts at school breakfasts from Odyssey Brands, a part of the Klondike Cheese Company located in Monroe, Wisconsin. The yogurt will also eventually be added to lunch menus to increase student opportunities to try it and enjoy a nutritious treat from ‘America’s Dairyland’.
As 2021 comes to an end, we are grateful for the nutrition staff, teachers, farmers, Serve Wisconsin team, and community members that make Farm to School possible in Oregon. Thank you for helping to cultivate relationships between school communities and our local farmers.
6th grade students pose with the new grow tower after setting it up and planting a variety of foods.
Isabel Greene and Maddie Smith, AmeriCorps
Farm to School Specialists
Meet the Farm to School Team:
Degrees and Certifications:
School Nutrition Director
Hello, I’m Sarah, the School Nutrition Director for OSD. Food helps us grow, think, and experience the world. I think it is important to serve healthy meals that feature local produce as well as fruits and vegetables grown in our school gardens. When we see our food grow, we can understand the power it has in our bodies. Food is also fun, playing with your food is an exciting way to feel connected to what you are eating. I often create pictures with my food- it just tastes better when my fruit salad looks like a smiling sun.
*PS: This is a picture of me with my dog, named Rutabaga. His name comes from the root vegetable - rutabaga. The vegetable is known for keeping your heart healthy and your bones strong. Rutabaga and I go on many hikes, so he is helping me stay healthy just like the vegetable.
Degrees and Certifications:
AmeriCorps Farm to School Specialist
Hello, my name is Michelle Naragon. I recently graduated with my master’s in clinical nutrition with an emphasis in food systems from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Food has always been a tool to bring people together throughout my life. As a child I would watch my mom prepare all of her meals and baked goods from scratch and travel to local farms to purchase produce and commodities. Once I reached my adolescent years, my dad had me help him care for his orchard and garden. Seeing where my food came from a young age empowered me to make healthy choices and recognize the importance of supporting local farmers when possible.
Serving as an AmeriCorp Farm to School Specialist enables me to share my passion for gardening, healthy eating, and nutrition with our future’s leaders to ensure they recognize the power of healthy food choices as for them and the importance of supporting and choosing local foods when possible. Throughout my time with OSD, I hope to encourage children to try new foods, learn about nutritious foods, and get their hands dirty by caring for the garden.
Degrees and Certifications:
AmeriCorps Farm to School Specialist
Hi, my name is Rebekah Herring! I am a new F2S member in OSD. I have my bachelors degree in Studies in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Ed. After graduating I served with another AmeriCorps program, City Year, in Metro Detroit as a peer mentor & tutor. I grew up in a small town full of nature & wildlife, which played a huge roll through out my childhood. Some of my fondest memories while growing up include working in the garden with my parents, going for nature walks along the Horicon Marsh, and my mom teaching me how to cook delicious, homemade food.=
I am passionate about working with youth and serving with the AmeriCorps F2S program will allow me to provide nutrition education, encourage students to make healthier decisions, and get involved with my students' families and community. It is my hope that throughout this year students try new foods and activities, learn more about where their food comes from, and overall feel a sense of empowerment from their newfound knowledge in all things food and gardening!