November 4, 2008
Contact: Laurie Davis, Anita Deming, Adirondack Harvest, 518-962-4810 x404

Making Farm to School Connections: Learn How at Paul Smith’s November 17

Farmers, local food wholesalers, school superintendents, cafeteria managers and staff, nutritionists, nurses, school board leaders, and anyone interested in connecting local food producers with regional schools will want to be at the Monday, November 17th Farm to School Connections: Bringing Local Food to Your School 10 am to 2 pm workshop in the Pine Room of the Joan Weill Student Center at Paul Smith’s College. Pre-register with Adirondack Harvest at 518-962-4810 x402 or email abm12@cornell.edu by November 12.

“Those attending this event will leave with resources, tools and information that will help them get involved in the exciting opportunity to provide and serve local foods in the Adirondack Harvest region of northern New York,” says Adirondack Harvest coordinator Laurie Davis. “We hope this event inspires the development of local coalitions that will put local food into school cafeterias across the region.”

Davis says there are many reasons to serve local foods in local schools.

“The fresh, flavorful, plant-ripened, unwaxed produce is more likely to be eaten by students. Local produce is high in nutrition value and uses less packaging which reduces waste and fewer miles from the field to the cafeteria reduces fossil fuel consumption and air pollution,” Davis says. “Food service directors are in a perfect position to lead the charge toward childhood well-being through better eating habits.”

School food service directors and superintendents at the workshop will take away lists of local wholesalers willing to work with schools and attendees interested in making farm-to-school connections across the Adirondack Harvest region. Farmers will leave with the names of school officials interested in purchasing locally-produced food products.

Anita Deming, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County where Adirondack Harvest is housed, says, “Farm to School is more than buying local food. It also includes teaching about food systems, growing and preparing food at school, farmer visits to school and school visits to farms, tasting local foods events, and other harvest events. The more our students know about where their food, nutrition and food systems come from, the better choices they will make throughout their lives.”

Joining Davis on the day’s speaking agenda will be representatives of Cornell University, Paul Smith’s College, Keene Central School, the North Country Grown Cooperative, Adirondack Harvest, and local food distributors.

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets representative Ann McMahon will talk about state regulations regarding the purchasing of local foods by schools and assistance available for growers interested in marketing to schools and colleges.

Shawn Glazier of Glazier Packing Company, Malone, NY, will talk about sourcing and distributing local products. Glazier’s food distribution history dates back to 1903. Today, the sausage maker and distribution service employs 52.

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman of the Community and Rural Development Institute at Cornell University is a co-author of “Farm to School in the Northeast: Making the Connection for Healthy Kids and Healthy Farms.” She will talk about a variety of tools and resources available for farmers, food service professionals, teachers and others helping to make connections between farms and educational institutions in their communities and region.

Mouillesseaux-Kunzman will also lead workshop participants through an exercise designed to help them begin to plan or enhance their own farm to school/college initiatives.

Patrick J. Clelland, general manager of Sodexho campus services at Paul Smith’s College, will highlight his use of local foods at the college dining facilities.

Keene Central School Superintendent Cynthia Johnston, Cafeteria Manager Julie Holbrook and Bunny Goodwin, a community member and the school’s composting project organizer will talk about their local foods efforts that include using locally grown fruits and vegetables, a school garden and plans for a school greenhouse.

Holbrook says, “I believe in incorporating fresh food into our school menus and these local initiatives will allow us to serve local food year ‘round.”

Farm to school connections in the Canton area of St. Lawrence County will be the workshop topic of representatives of the farmer-owned and operated North Country Grown Cooperative. The cooperative members produce fruit, vegetables, honey, bison, chicken, turkey, pork and maple products. Cooperative Manager Sue Rau will share tips for building relationships with educational institutions.

Davis says she expects most of the conference attendees from all eight Adirondack Harvest counties (Essex, Franklin, Clinton, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton and Warren). Recent outreach has begun to strengthen the Adirondack Harvest participation and benefits regionwide.

Adirondack Harvest is a non-profit community-based local farms and foods program with county-level chapters and farmer/grower, government, Extension restaurant, store owners, economic developers and consumer members throughout the Northern New York region. The program promotes local foods participation by food buyers, and sellers and consumers, through marketing brochures, a website, maps, exhibits, events and educational training.

Learn more about regional agriculture at www.adirondackharvest.org and on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.  Farm to School resources are also found at http://farmtoschool.cce.cornell.edu/ , http://www.nyaged.org/aitc/ , and http://www.prideofny.com/farm_to_school.html . The Farm to School Connections workshop is sponsored by Adirondack Harvest and Paul Smith’s College ( www.paulsmiths.edu ).   Pre-register with Adirondack Harvest at 518-962-4810 x402 or email abm12@cornell.edu  by November 12.
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