Harvest of the Month, a partnership program with Whatcom Farm to School, has returned to the Ferndale School District and features a locally-grown fruit or vegetable on lunch menus each month.
The program, which has been a part of district lunch menus in the past, returned in January 2019 – and will continue throughout the 2019 calendar year. Harvest of the Month offers an opportunity for students to try new foods from local farms, talk about food choices and consider where food comes from.
Local food is defined by Whatcom Farm to School as food grown within a four-county region: Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties. The Ferndale School District is one of many school districts in the county to utilize the Harvest of the Month program.
Ferndale School District Director of Food Service Michael McDonald noted the dual impact of Harvest of the Month in educating students about healthy foods and featuring local farming businesses.
“This is a great program because it’s educational for the kids, promotes fruits and vegetables, and is also sustainable because with local foods there aren’t food truck shipments coming from long distances,” McDonald said.
Harvest of the Month is a part of primary and secondary school menus in the district. Each month, an elementary school is chosen to host a local farmer presentation about the featured food item.
In January, Blake Abel of Bellewood Acres visited Cascadia Elementary to share about apples, the featured food item for January. In February, Peter Mietenkorte of Eastview Blueberry Farm visited Skyline Elementary to share about blueberries as part of February’s featured food item, frozen berries.
“Being at Cascadia and Skyline for the last two Harvest of the Month presentations, I can say it’s been great to have local farmers share about their careers and watch students engage with questions,” McDonald said.
The featured Harvest of Month food item for March will be grains. For information about Harvest of the Month, including a full list of featured foods for each month, please visit the Whatcom Farm to School website at http://www.whatcomfarmtoschool.org/.
Another program the Ferndale School District Food Service team has been working to implement is reusable flatware in school cafeterias. The sustainability effort has begun with reusable flatware implemented at Custer Elementary School. A long-term goal exists to expand the reusable flatware program across the district, McDonald said.
For more information about food services in the Ferndale School District, please visit https://www.ferndalesd.org/food-service.