Our summer interns were fortunate to work with John Wilkerson, president of the Missouri Organic Association. He tends to a portion of the property at Mueller Farm located in Ferguson, MO. The interns learned about organic and sustainable gardening practices and the rich history behind Mueller Farms. Wilkerson grows several varieties of tomatoes and potatoes, as well as summer squash, cucumbers, beets, peas and beans.
Healthy Eating with Local Produce (HELP) is a Farm to School program
dedicated to bringing fresh local foods into schools and supporting local
agriculture. We have developed relationships with area farmers to provide whole fresh foods to Maplewood Richmond Heights School District through the Salus Processing Center. HELP uses the processing center to turn food into items that can be stored for year-round use in the cafeteria. In Year One, there were four primary foods used for processing: apples, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Some of our favorite processed items are tomatoes into marinara, sweet potatoes into sweet potato fries, and apples into applesauce. HELP works closely with school foodservice staff to create delicious healthy foods for students while educating them about the benefits of a more healthful diet. The HELP grant is designed to test if food processing and distribution can be fiscally sustainable for school districts.