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Metcalfe County Schools awarded federal farm to school grant

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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EDMONTON, Ky. (WBKO) - For the second time in four years, the Metcalfe County School District has been selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Nutrition Service (FNS) to receive a Farm to School Implementation Grant.

”Most students are three generations removed from a farm, unlike years ago where everybody raised a garden or they had their own chickens, or processed beef. A lot of students, even in a rural community, feel like their food comes from Walmart or from their local grocery store. The importance of this program is to make students aware that someone works to produce their food. We live in a place in the United States where we have a very safe and abundant food supply and it takes a lot of people to get that food from our farms to their tables. We want our students at an early age to know how important those jobs are,” said Farm to School Manager, Lynn Hawkins.

The district will receive $81,894 to improve access to local foods for students and families through comprehensive programming that includes local procurement and agricultural education efforts.

”We want to continue to make our students aware and be seen in the community as far as promoting agriculture and doing activities like farm safety day, farm to table day, having maybe a luncheon to invite community members to see what our school system is doing to promote agriculture in our community,” Hawkins said. “We were able to put up some fencing and actually get some livestock on the campus so we can make agriculture classes hands-on for our students. Not just the students in the Ag classes, but anybody that walked by or any teacher who wanted to take their kids to the barn and fenced area to talk about cattle. We’re planning to get some sheep this fall when school starts back.”

Hawkins says she is excited for the program grow. “It’s important for students to know where and how we get our food. It doesn’t magically show up at the grocery store. We teach students the entire agricultural process from planting to harvest. Then they use the foods they grow to learn about cooking, recipes, and proper nutrition.”

Metcalfe County Schools was awarded its first Farm to School grant in 2017. Superintendent Josh Hurt said, “Our Farm to School program has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Each school now has its own greenhouse, and we added chicken coops at two schools. Most recently, one of our partners donated a heifer, so we built a fence around a pasture right on campus.”

Metcalfe County is one of only two programs in Kentucky, and one of 176 programs across the country, to be awarded a 2021 grant. The Farm to School grant program serves 6,800 schools and more than 1.4 million students nationwide.

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