Sierra Harvest’s Farm to School program has grown from 11 to 22 schools in the past four years. We now serve 6,700 students — 96% of the K-8 population in Western Nevada County! Our Farm to School liaisons, some of whom are now in their 4th year in that role, make it all possible. They coordinate monthly tastings of seasonal produce, farm field trips, school produce stands, and classroom visits by chefs and farmers, and more. Liz Peterson, co-Farm to School Liaison for Grass Valley Charter, sees the impact of the program firsthand: “Kids are trying things they never would have tried before…and they’re liking it! They’re learning where their food comes from, how it’s grown, and that new things can be awesome. And then they’re taking that knowledge and attitude home to their families.” It’s also fun to see kids trying new foods. Peterson recalls a little boy tasting mushrooms with a guest chef during Tasting Week: “[The boy] said, ‘I don’t know how you did it but you made mushrooms taste good!’ That cracks me up.”
Amanda Thibodeau, Farm to School Coordinator, enjoys sourcing new, locally and regionally grown fruits and vegetables to introduce to the kids: “We’re excited to continue this program in the 2016-17 school year, where students will be deepening their relationship with our local farmers and tasting new foods like kumquats and pluots.” Bringing fresh, local produce into the schools for kids to try every month is working. There was a 54% increase in students liking the fruits and veggies they tried after the Harvest of the Month tasting and 58% have eaten those items more often since tasting them. 33% more students report that their families shop directly from farmers via local markets and CSA programs.
Sierra Harvest is extremely grateful for our Farm to School liaisons for their dedication and enthusiasm, and their key role in making this important program a success. Here are the 2016-17 Liaisons:
Brianna Abundiz, Aleta Barrett, Kimberly Bell, Sherrill Eaton, Stephanie Facchini, Colette Finkbiner, Jaimi Giguere, Sarah Griffin-Boubacar, Stacie La Jeunesse, Poppi Lebarron-West, Lori Long, Andrea Maher, Michele McDaniel, Raelynn Noel, Elizabeth Peterson, Jodi Porter, Sarah Seward, Erika Triglia, Krista Ghandarva, Shauna Schultz, Tracie VanBemmel, Veronica TenEyck Heidi Zimmerman, and Carreen Savoie.