The value of farm to school
TO THE EDITOR
With October being National Farm to School month, I want to express my strong support of farm fresh foods being served in school cafeterias nationwide!
I am a vegetable farmer, a vendor at and manager for Wabasha Farmers' Market, I work in the kitchen at Harbor View Café, am vice president of the MN Farmers Market Association, coordinator for the Wabasha Food Access Network, a mother of three and more! These hats give me a unique perspective.
In 2013, our local school food service director, Annette Hedquist, visited our farmers market. I never considered selling to the school, but she encouraged me. Annette inspired me, but I soon realized it takes a community banding together for long term success. With the help of many, we navigated and overcame obstacles that allowed Wabasha to become the first market to obtain a wholesale food handlers license! This allows us to aggregate produce at the farmers market and deliver it to local schools, hospitals and restaurants.
As a parent, I want my family to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. I know my kids eat more produce when offered farm fresh because the flavors are so much better. Fresh beans out of the field are so much better than store bought canned beans! If we introduce these foods to children at a young age, they are much more apt to enjoy them as they get older. It makes me happy to see choices like cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi and kale at our school.
As a farmer, knowing fresh produce I harvest is staying in and feeding children in my community makes me proud. To see these children trying Dragon's tongue beans at school and running for my booth at the Farmers Market because they can't wait to share them with Mom and Dad makes my day!
I am grateful at the progress we've made and the support we've received, but we need our state to increase its investment in innovative ideas like the farmers market aggregation project and cost-sharing programs it provides to schools to help them access the equipment they need to offer meals made from scratch. Programs like this are smart investments that will lead to a robust, vibrant community-based food system that supports local farmers, economies and food that will nourish children and adults in our communities.
Sara L. George
D & S Gardens owner, Wabasha Farmers Market Manager, MFMA Board Member
Come see 'The Wizard of Oz'
TO THE EDITOR
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel over the rainbow? If you come see Ellsworth High School's performance of "The Wizard of Oz," you can find out! Discover how Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion make their way to the Emerald City.
Shows are Nov. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students and $8 for adults. They can be purchased in the High School office or at the door on the night of the show.
The cast, crew, pit band and the directors have been working very hard to put together an amazing show for you! We hope to see you there.
Ellsworth High School sophomore