Bringing Local Farm Produce to Schools
The "No Small Potatoes" project
Posted on February 6, 2012
ESBOCES employee and Bay Shore schoool nutritionist Janet Sklar celebrates bringing fresh, farm food to school cafeterias.
Imagine the exhilaration ESBOCES employee and Bay Shore UFSD Food Nutrition Director Janet Sklar must have felt when she achieved her goal of bringing the “Farm-to-School” program to Long Island school districts. After spending years trying to form the food cooperative that now brings locally-grown vegetables to local schools - saving districts money, supporting local farmers, and educating students - she has realized success. Interestingly, one student asked, “Long Island has farms?”
Yes it does, and here’s a trivia question: Where in New York State are the largest producers of potatoes?
Yes, it’s Long Island.
Recently, Janet showcased a “From Farm to School – No Small Potatoes!” event in Bay Shore schools with William Ringhoff of Ringhoff Farms, located in the Pine Barrens; distributor Diane Shulman, whose warehouse is in Brentwood; and Special Assistant Robert A. Lewis from the New York State Department of Agriculture, to watch bags of mini potatoes being delivered to the high school. The potatoes were immediately used in recipes prepared by the head chef and Food & Careers Gourmet Club students for their classmates during lunch periods.
The Bay Shore High School Head Chef is filmed by Channel 12 TV News.
Janet Sklar (in red) welcomes guests to her special event in the Bay Shore UFSD (below).
Bay Shore High Schools boys and girls from the Gourmet Club slice the farm potatoes.
Twenty other school districts are already in the pilot program reports Janet, who is president of the Long Island School Nutrition Directors association, with more expected to join. Her future plans include taking the Farm-to-School program to the federal level. Asked how she felt after the event, she replied, “Like a dream has come true.”