Through a new grant, Rural Action will partner with the Hocking College Culinary Arts Program to introduce a new Farm-To-School Initiative and provide Federal Hocking and Athens City School Districts with fresh, local produce.
The Farm-To-School Initiative creates a partnership between Rural Action/Chesterhill Produce Auction, Federal Hocking School District, Athens City School District and the Hocking College Culinary Arts Program. The goal of this initiative is to take advantage of local produce by incorporating it into area school districts.
Produce from the Chesterhill Produce Auction will be purchased by the school districts, then transported by Rural Action to Hocking College. Hocking College students will then be given the responsibility of preparing local produce for commercial use in participating schools. Students will receive hands-on experience in preparing fresh local produce after being introduced to a variety of techniques. The food prepared at Hocking will then be transported and distributed to participating schools by Rural Action.
Chef Alfonso Contrisciani, Dean of Hospitality, explained, "One of our missions at the Hocking College School of Hospitality is to promote sustainability initiatives. The addition of the Farm-To-School program greatly enhances our core beliefs. While supporting the local farming industry of southeast Ohio, we are making a contribution to an eco-friendly agricultural environment resulting in healthy products to feed our children."
The Central Appalachian Network funded the grant with a goal to
provide farm fresh fruit and vegetables to schools at least once a week. The $10,000 grant budget covers transportation of the produce, containers for the food, faculty supervision and Hocking kitchen maintenance.