The Tri County Farm to Fork program was able to bring together regional beef and pork producers to provide one meal a month for elementary and middle school students.
The program maintains and educational component to help students understand nutritional values, as well as gain an understanding of the origins of their food and production practices of crops used to grow animal food.
“We started attending FFA Alumni meetings, but we formed our own committee,” said Kirk Holtmeier, Treasurer of Farm to Fork. “We just want to bring fresh produce to the kids. We bake about 450-500 patties a month on equipment made by the kids in the shop.”
Ryan Clark, Principal of Tri County, said the school is grateful for the program.
“Our administration has supported this program by 110%,” he said. “Agriculture is an important part of the community and obviously, fresh produce is an important part of the program, but our kids are experiencing the generous giving and support of the community, That’s the biggest benefit. Not everyone has that opportunity.”
“It’s much bigger than just lunch,” Clark added.
Dave Barnard, Ag Instructor and FFA Advisor, works with FFA students to educate elementary school students about livestock and farming.
Everyone is reading…
“We did coloring contests, posters, classroom reading, and today they guessed the weight of the gilding we had in the trailer,” he said. “Several students helped build your own pizza project. They learned about wheat for flour and then meat, cheese, and vegetables.
“The tower in the classroom is used to grow lettuce. We have friends in Omaha. This is also part of our agricultural literacy program. We are one of only two schools in the state to have a single central tower axis. The kids wrote and raised funds and that’s ours. We will plant soybeans in the first year. ”
Approximately 70 youth participate in the Tri County FFA program.
August Gerlach, a student from Tri County, says he thinks the Farm to Fork program is good.
“It’s a great way for elementary and even high school students to know what’s going on,” says Gerlach.
Mya Maxwell says she likes Farm to Fork as a relaxing break from school lunches.
Nicky Porter, Cafe Manager, says she likes to halve fresh beef and pork.
Volunteer Brandon Esau said: “Fortunately, we have a large farming-based community willing to donate meat and produce. “Unfortunately, the cost of preparing meat has increased dramatically, but we can still bring meat to the kids for free.
“Our budget is about $16,000 per year. The goal is to achieve program commitments that will sustain this effort for at least three years. We estimate the need for six cows and twelve pigs per year and the cost of processing the meat. “
Any donation of beef or pork to the animal market, grain through a cooperative or local finance is tax deductible.