Farm to School
The ice is starting to break up and seed orders are going in. Spring is such an exciting time of year. For the second year in a row we are gearing up for "Read ME Agriculture" in the classroom. This is where volunteers, go into Elementary classrooms and read books supporting Maine Agriculture. It is a fun way to support elementary youths knowledge about what is grown and harvested in Maine. There is still time for teachers to sign-up and we are always looking for local growers that would like to participate in reading to the classrooms.
Also, Healthy Oxford Hills has been busy supporting a couple of High School groups that are interested in having more local foods used in the cafeteria. To help in this endeavor, a survey was taken by the entire High School population, to help identify what should be planted in some community gardens to be used in the cafeteria. The ranking of vegetable preference follows: carrots, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, green beans, Romaine lettuce, green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini.
Why all the interest in local foods? You might consider buying local fruits and vegetables because:
Freshness- fruits and vegetables that are grown locally are usually sold within 24 hours of harvesting.
Taste- foods are grown for taste instead of toughness needed for shipping.
Safety- food produced locally in smaller amounts are less at risk for contaimnation.
Nutrition-harvesting takes place when the food is the most ripe and is properly handled so that it holds in all its nutritients.
Community-buying local food puts money back into the local economy.
Variety-local farmers often are able to produce different varieties of traditional foods.
Energy conservation-transporting food from the field to the local farmers market requires less gas.
Regional identity-buying local promotes regional products and pride in the community.