October 6, 2017: Farm to Table

October 6, 2017

Hello Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson, with the School District of Black River Falls, here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools!  Today we are going to talk about a farm to table activity that Connie Seiber, our Director of Nutritional Services, provided for our high school students during the Homecoming lunch on Friday, September 22nd.

The nutrition department organized a farm to school to celebrate Homecoming and our fall athletes/activities. Students were provided with a true cook out. The festivities began by having celebrity servers such as Joe Schmit-Building and Grounds Supervisor, Jim Bible-Football Coach, and Leonard Olson, a long time Maintenance staff member.  Who was serving the food was certainly important to the students, but what makes the story worth talking about is the fact that each of the components of the meal came from local farmers and went directly to the trays of our high school students!

Here is the rundown of their Homecoming meal:

Sirloin steaks from Sun Ray Dairy out of Mindoro, Wisconsin (The steers were processed the week of Sept 11-15 and brought to the high school on Sept 20th)
Hoagie buns from Sun Prairie,  Wisconsin
Corn on the cobb from Bountiful Harvest
Baked potatoes from Markon
Sour cream from Westby Creamery in Westby, Wisconsin

While we would love to be able to have a direct pipeline to this type of fresh produce and product each and every day, the truth of the matter is that the cost of such products is significantly higher than the direct diversion and commodity food that our nutrition department relies on to make nutritious and affordable meals.  

Mrs. Seiber has worked with the UW Extension Office in the past to continue to work on farm to table opportunities whenever possible.  The idea of locally grown produce is certainly not a new one!  Mr. Markhardt and his agriculture students have been growing food at either their plot on the corner of Tyler Street and Krome Road or the test plot that they plant out by Jackson Electric.  They have used their produce to augment the offerings at the salad bar in the high school, as well as sell to those interested in purchasing them.  You may have noticed that there is now a local Farmer’s Market that takes place twice a week throughout the summer.  Many local growers sell the produce that is above and beyond what they can personally use.  

In the District, we work to encourage as many students to participate in our food service program as possible.  Food security is a real and legitimate challenge for far too many of our students and families.  You may already be aware, but we provide a free breakfast, in all four of our schools, for any students that are interested.  Due to the participation levels, the cost of this program is not supplemented by district funds, it is self sustaining.  Our demographics make this a responsible choice within our community.  New this year, there is a free snack available after school at our High School, which will service the High School and the Middle School students that are interested.  Sometimes when students are involved in after school activities, they eat lunch around noon, and then don’t get home again until nearly 10:00 in the evening.  This quick, nutritious snack is just the ticket to tide them over.

We appreciate the work that Mrs. Seiber, and the entire Nutritional Services team, does to provide students with the nutrition they need to be successful in school, as well as provide the service to make the students want to participate in our food service program!  Pair this with our new partnership with the Friends Sharing Food organization, and I’d say that we are having a positive impact on student health and nutrition in our district and community.

As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls!  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!

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