Food program seeks to unite local farmers, school directors

Advocates for stronger ties between local farms and school cafeterias are hosting a “Mobile Farm Workshop” on Tuesday, Oct. 22, with a slate of tours, workshops and discussions between school food-service directors and farmers in Whatcom County.

The event, organized by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, will include visits to local farms, a kitchen-skills workshop, and a roundtable discussion designed to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen network ties between farmers and schools.

The Mobile Farm Workshop is co-sponsored by Whatcom Farm-to-School, with funding support from the Whatcom Community Foundation.

Officials from the Blaine, Ferndale, Nooksack, Mount Baker, Bellingham, Meridian, Lynden and Lummi school districts are expected to participate.

They will tour Hopewell Farm in Everson, a provider of organically grown carrots and broccoli to local schools, as well as the Cloud Mountain Farm Center, also in Everson. Cloud Mountain is building a food processing facility to wash, chop and package local produce in forms schools and other buyers need it (for example, carrot sticks, chopped broccoli, salad mix).

The day’s activities will also include hands-on training for both farmers and food-service directors, as well as a tour of the kitchen facilities at Nooksack Valley Middle School, where farmers will be able to learn more about the needs and constraints of school food service.

WSDA will help farmers learn about best practices for working with schools and other institutional buyers. Food-service directors training with Georgia Johnson, a food service director from the La Conner School District, who has helped her staff make the transition from using “heat and serve” processed foods to serving more fresh local foods in the cafeteria.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Related Stories