As a FoodCorps service member at Boyne Falls Public Schools, I know about a dozen fifth graders that were thrilled to hear about parsnips, the name of which is uncommon to most elementary students. Parsnips have been on the menu as January’s “Harvest of the Month” product.
Farm to school champion and celebrity chef Alice Waters visited Boyne Falls Public School in Charlevoix County on Friday, Sept. 22, to witness firsthand how food service director and chef Nathan Bates is using locally-sourced produce in the cafeteria and how Boyne Falls is promoting local food in the curriculum.
Last year I served as Groundwork’s FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member at Boyne Falls Public School. This year I returned for another year of service at Boyne Falls, but I’m also working in Pellston Public Schools. Both schools are located in rural northern Michigan, but each have their own unique situation that shapes the goals and focus of my service.
Nathan Bates and Boyne Falls Public School are a shining testament to the impact of northwest lower Michigan’s flourishing farm to school movement. It is a movement that is benefiting schoolchildren both nutritionally and academically and, at the same time, is giving small and mid-size farmers a growing market for their crops and helping them stay on their land.