Not all heroes and heroines wear capes – some wear kitchen aprons and others wear farm boots! And this is where our story begins with 300 pounds of fresh, spring lettuce delivered by two passionate organic farmers to three Nevada County school districts who continue to provide school lunches (to-go style) for low-income families during COVID.
Sierra Harvest typically gets over 7,500 students a month to taste a fresh new produce item during classroom Harvest of the Month tastings. When the COVID-19 virus led to school closures, Sierra Harvest wanted to keep our commitment to the farmer who was growing the produce for us and also find a way to still bring the nutritious produce to our students.
Enter superheroes Michael and Shanon Whamond of Hillview Farms, an organic diversified vegetable farm who are extremely passionate about growing healthy food. They feel strongly in the simple idea that healthy soils equal healthy families, and yields healthy communities, and they work hard to ensure that their soils yield the very best quality produce for our community to enjoy. The farmers drove from Lincoln in Placer County to western Nevada County and continued up the hill to Truckee with their boxes of lettuce to nourish the bellies of thousands of students who are distance learning at home since mid-March. The school district Food Services Directors along with their amazing support staffs prepared thousands of lunches incorporating this salad mix and as a bonus, one district even sent home bags of lettuce for the families to enjoy too! And the next superhero in the story is BriarPatch Food Co-op who sponsors the Harvest of the Month program. Without their continued support, who knows where that lettuce might have ended up.
What are the Food Service Directors saying?
Kat Soltanmorad, Food and Nutrition Services Director at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District shared, “Thanks to the Sierra Harvest and BriarPatch Food Co-op partnership, we received 15 cases of mixed lettuce! We are excited to offer fresh, organic lettuce in our salad recipe featured in our lunches offered at over 19 sites daily this week. Jeff Coats, Grass Valley School District Child Nutrition Services Director bagged up his lettuce donation with enough in each bag for each student’s family to enjoy at home! “Thank you so much for this wonderful donation for our families” shared Jeff.
Theresa Ruiz, Nevada Joint Union High School District’s Director of Nutrition Services produced 350 gorgeous takeout salads for the students that she serves on a daily basis.
Michael and Shanon are leaving the world a little better than they found it by dedicating their lives to not only growing densely nutritious and organic food, but taking the time to bring it directly to our food services directors. We are also humbled by the work the food services directors have accomplished by pivoting to a brand new model of feeding thousands of children at home. Hats off to our local farmers, school nutrition services employees and BriarPatch Food Co-op who are ALL making a difference one lunch and one child at a time!