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Farm to School

School lunches are getting a little healthier this fall thanks to Oklahoma's Farm to School program and it's a win-win for both farmers and students.
Farm to School

Farm to School program

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Oklahoma Farm to School

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Show 0935: Farm to School

Air date: August 30, 2009



Rob:  Well school lunches are getting a little healthier this fall thanks to Oklahoma’s Farm-to-School Program.  As our Russ Jowell reports, it’s a win-win program for both farmers and students.

(School bell ringing)

Russ:  It’s that time of the year, the time when students across Oklahoma trade their summertime joys for scholarly pursuits.  And for students in Norman Public Schools, their minds will be focused, while their bodies will be nourished with wholesome, local food.

Chris Kirby:  It’s very exciting.  I think it’s a great opportunity for our farmers, but it’s also a really great opportunity for our children to get that really fresh, locally grown produce and products.

Russ:  It’s the Oklahoma Farm-to-School Program, a statewide effort that’s connecting Norman students with nourishing foods, and Norman schools with an exciting opportunity.  Chris Kirby is the program’s director.

Kirby:  The interest in Farm-to-School is really exploding.  The interest in locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables and farm products, and you know, bringing child nutrition directors from all over the state, having our farmers together, and then our resource folks, is really an exciting event.

Russ:  An event that connects school nutrition officials with the hometown producers growing their foods.

Kirby:  We’re also working with farmers one-on-one to where they can work directly with the farms or with the schools and sell to the schools as well.

Russ:  Farmers like those who raise one of the most basic crops of all, wheat.  Mike Schulte is with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

Mike Schulte:  We feel like it would be beneficial for our producers who are selling grain, and it would be another way to market our wheat, domestically, here in the state of Oklahoma.  We’re looking really forward to put whole wheat rolls in the school systems that are coming out a value added product.

Jeff Coleman:  We’re trying to educate them on a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  So, “A” might be asparagus, “B” might be blackberry, and “C” is cantaloupe.

Russ:  Jeff Coleman is the chef for Norman Public Schools, and says providing local food to Norman’s students also means a good lesson in good nutrition.

Coleman:  I’ve gotten a hold of some of the principals at Norman Public Schools, and we’re going to have a couple of farmers come out.  And we’re going to dig up some dirt and plant some vegetables to try to teach the kids how to, you know, grow a garden and the benefits of working in the garden and eating what they produce.

Russ:  Showing that locally grown food can power a student’s mind as well as their bodies.