Nineteen Farm to School Liaisons help run Sierra Harvest’s Farm to School program in Nevada County’s elementary schools. We couldn’t do it without them. I spoke with Lori Long, Farm to School Liaison for Alta Sierra Elementary, about the work she does for Sierra Harvest.
SH: What do you love about being the Farm to School Liaison for Sierra Harvest?
Lori: My favorite part is running the produce cart for the school. Kids fill up a bag of produce at the cart and take it home. And once a month for Harvest of the Month the whole school gets to try something new – the kids get so excited and want to try new stuff. The majority of the kids are willing to give it a taste. They come home with one green onion and one tomato and integrate it into their dinner. Then they go to the store and they want to buy more of the stuff that they have tried from the produce cart. They are encouraging their parents to make better choices.
SH: How has working with Sierra Harvest changed the way you and your family eat?
Lori: It’s made me more likely to go to the farmers’ market, and my kids are more willing to try new things. My kids are actually eating things like persimmons. I never really liked persimmons myself, but I tried them at our last meeting and now I like them. We always raised our own food, growing up. My parents are really into agriculture – my dad raises cattle as a hobby. My brother started a pumpkin patch last year.
SH: What has the reaction been like to the Farm to School program at Alta Sierra?
Lori: Lots of excitement. The teachers are really excited and involved – we are starting a school garden with the help of Sierra Harvest and everyone is asking what is going to be planted in the garden. Our school did Tasting Week with ten classes instead of just four.
SH: How do you like to spend time with your kids?
Lori: I have three boys – 4, 8, and 10. We like to go to the movies. We hike on my parents’ ranch and play in the creek, do archery, art projects. I want the kids to know where their food is coming from and try new things, and I love that all the kids at Alta Sierra School can learn and try new foods through Sierra Harvest’s Farm to School program.