| West Virginia schools spend more than $100 million each year on food for students. Unfortunately, a high percentage of that money is spent on produce and foods from outside the state.|
The West Virginia Farm to School Program is working to change that - connecting local producers with schools.
So far, Calhoun has only one farm producer providing local food to Calhoun Schools, with the future of the project uncertain unless a more concentrated effort is made.
This past month, ten AmeriCorps members were placed in service in West Virginia to focus on making the farm to school connection.
Members will serve as liaisons between the schools and the community, working to coordinate with food service directors and network with farmers.
WV Farm to School is hoping to create a regional database of farmers interested in providing local foods and produce to schools, and to provide those farmers with resources on the process of obtaining food handling and agricultural practices and extending the growing and production season.
By working with farmers and growers, WV Farm to School hopes to keep money spent by the state’s schools systems within West Virginia.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Farm to School region includes Roane, Jackson, Calhoun, Gilmer, Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, Doddridge, Tyler and Pleasants Counties. In parts of the region, some Farm to School operations are already in place and growing.
If you are a grower interested in expanding your production to provide fruits, vegetables, meats, or other food items to West Virginia schools, please contact the Mid-Ohio Valley Farm to School coordinator, Lisa Minney, at the WVU Roane Extension Office at 304.927.0975.
West Virginia Farm to School is a statewide initiative of the WV Farm to School Community Development Group, and aims to incorporate locally grown products into school meals.
WV Farm to School AmeriCorps is funded in part by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service and by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.