Stories from the Network

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Washington State Farm to School Network Hosts 2019 Regional Gatherings

Location: Six locations around the state (One in each network region)
Contact: Chris Iberle, WSDA Farm to School,

People working on farm to school activities around the state met to build local momentum and partnerships through the network! The “Regional Farm to School Gatherings” were co-hosted by WSDA and other members of the Washington State Farm to School Network.

More than 150 people attended the six gatherings in Chelan, Federal Way (pictured at right), Spokane, Walla Walla, Brush Prairie, and Mount Vernon, held between May and June 2019. At each event, WSDA farm to school facilitated training and networking for food producers and school nutrition staff to encourage buying and serving more Washington-grown foods. Then school gardeners, farm educators, agriculture teachers, and other farm to school supporters and network members joined the events to meet one another, learn about local farm to school efforts, and forge and strengthen local connections.

February Harvest of the Month: Cauliflower Prepared by Students

Location: Concrete School District
Contact: Rachel Muia, Concrete Farm to School,
Watch the video online

Concrete Farm to School Coordinator Rachel Muia assisted four elementary students in a Cauliflower Cook-off to showcase February’s Harvest of the Month. Student chefs made use of the Farm to School kitchen classroom to prepare two favorite cauliflower dishes: roasted garlic mashed potatoes with cauliflower, and a Mexican-style roasted cauliflower. When it was time to sit down and sample the veggie side dishes, Haylee shared, “I usually don’t like this, but it’s good!” In an online poll that asked, “Which would you make at home?”, the Mexican-style roasted cauliflower received 67% of the votes and roasted garlic mashed potatoes with cauliflower was favored by 33%.

Applesauce – So Sweet You Don’t Even Need Sugar!

Location: Bellingham School District
Contact: Lindsey Rieck, Common Threads,
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“What are we cooking today?!” students ecstatically asked Common Threads Food Educators as they walked into the classroom. “Applesauce!” This recipe inspires conversations about spices while the apples cook down to a chunky sauce. During this time we look at a world map to notice the origins of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg. When the room starts to smell wonderful,we serve up warm applesauce and start to explore the spices! The result? As one Roosevelt Elementary fourth grader exclaimed after tasting the freshly made applesauce, “It is so sweet, and we didn’t even add sugar!”

The Real Food Show: 70 performances for over 25,000 Kids

Location: Statewide
Contact: Karl Meyer, Real Food Show,
Watch the video

“The Real Food Show” uses an energetic, entertaining format to teach and motivate children to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. Because Food Co-op’s sponsors this 35-minute show, there is no cost to the schools. Through a series of fun routines involving audience participation, visual aids, comedy, juggling, and other circus skills, the talented two-member performance team keeps students laughing and learning. The show has been performed at over 70 Whatcom, Skagit, and other Washington state elementary schools, and seen by over 25,000 kids.

January Harvest of the Month: Kohlrabi

Location: Sedro-Woolley School District
Contact: Marjorie Bell, United General District 304,
Watch the video
Facebook post

Harvest of the Month for January was kohlrabi! Sedro-Woolley students at Central, Evergreen, and Samish Elementary Schools sampled fresh kohlrabi grown by Boldly Grown Farm in Skagit County. After the taste tests, teachers surveyed students to find out how they liked it. Results are in: most students LOVED the kohlrabi! At least one students was overheard saying, “I want my mom to buy this!” Thank you Boldly Grown Farm for the kohlrabi and Sedro-Woolley School District teachers, administrators and food service staff for your help and support.

Local Farmers Visit Bellingham Schools

Location: Bellingham Public Schools
Contact: Mardi Solomon, Whatcom Farm to School,
Story weblink
Facebook post

Thanks to the coordination of community partner Whatcom-Farm-to-School, local farmers have visited elementary schools this school year to share their experiences of growing food. This is part of a broader effort on food education in our schools and cafeterias, sharing where food comes from, how it is grown and how it is prepared to eat.

In late October, Helen Solem of Sumas River Farm took some time away from her Whatcom County organic farm to visit with students at Cordata Elementary. Timed with the October Harvest of the Month, she brought with her a variety of cauliflower and broccoli from her farm. During her visit, students asked questions about being a farmer and the crops she grows.

In December, Giana Wakim of The Crows Farm visited Birchwood Elementary School and gave out samples of chives and talked about alliums in general, a plant genus that includes onions, leeks, garlic and shallots.

Sharing a little about her time in the cafetera and why she was happy to spend time with the students, she wrote:

“I loved visiting Birchwood Elementary last month! I was pleasantly surprised at how interested and knowledgeable the kids were about alliums and farming. They had great questions about what it’s like to be a farmer and why I liked farming. It was great to share a little bit about what we do at The Crows Farm and get the kids thinking more about food and where it comes from. It’s such an important subject for kids to start thinking about, and the more interest and exposure they get, it will greatly impact our local food system for generations to come.”

K-12 Farm to School Education on Lopez Island

Location: Lopez Island School District
Contact: Dave Sather, Lopez Island SD Secondary Principal,

During the month of September 2018, the Lopez Island School District served all of its meals within 25 miles of the island and a bulk of the meals were produced entirely on island. All students, grades K-12, have access to these meals and curriculum.

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