Friday, February 18, 2011

Farm to School Workshop

 Saint Louis University hosted the University of Missouri Extension's Farm to School Workshop on Wednesday, February 16. It was a great gathering of farmers, school nutrition professionals, and food activists! We had a full house of over 150 people. Healthy Eating with Local Produce was prominently featured in many of the panels, and we were able to pass on many of our best practices.

Farmers Dave Thies and Steve Hamra spoke about their experiences selling to schools.

Dr. Millie Mattfeldt-Beman gave an overview of the HELP grant and was joined by two students from Maplewood Richmond Heights school district, Relissa and Dynique, for a panel discussion about the student's experience with Farm to School. Relissa and Dynique were hired on to work for the grant under the high school entrepreneurship program and were trained in sustainable food systems and food processing.
Chef Robert Rusan, Foodservice Director Carol Kon, distributor Randy Woods, and farmer Adrienne Hunter gathered for the third panel to discuss the logistics of food aggregation and distribution.

A delicious lunch was catered by Fresh Gatherings cafe featuring diary, eggs, meat and vegetables
from local farmers! Eric Hahn from Locavore Foods out of Detroit was the keynote speaker. He delivered an inspiring story with examples of how Farm to School can logistically work.

After lunch, breakout sessions were provided for the farmers and the school nutrition folk. Information specific panels were provided for each. The farmer side focused on food packing, grading, handling, safety, distribution and insurance. School food service focused on bidding, procurement, strategies, handling, processing and training.

Networking abounded, with old friends reuniting and new relationships being built. Everybody here at HELP hopes that attendees walked away with enough tools to start taking small steps towards putting local agriculture in our cafeterias. Many thanks to Bill McKelvey for producing a great event! If there are any questions that we can answer about the HELP grant, please contact the Department of Nutrition & Dietetics at (314) 977-8523 or visit our web page at