Students Fueling Success of Cabell County Schools Farm to School Effort

From Press Release

Providing locally-grown produce for use in school meals is the goal of the West Virginia Farm to School Program.  Cabell County Schools has fully embraced this effort and, as a result, is creating opportunities for students to start their own businesses.

“Not only are we providing a boost to the local economy and fresh ingredients for our meals, we are also giving students a unique opportunity for hands-on learning,” says Rhonda McCoy, Director of Food Services for Cabell County Schools.  “The students received start-up funds for their businesses with a grant from the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition.  Now that they are up and running, they are becoming some of our most important local suppliers.”

So far, this year, out of the $36,719.48 spent by Cabell County on the program, $13,900.59 has been earned by two individual Cabell County Schools students, Orin Jackson and Zachary Call.  At $9,711.17, Jackson is the top-earning student farmer in the state, providing the food service program with red, yellow and green bell peppers; tomatoes; butternut squash and cucumbers.  At, $4189.42, Call is the second-highest earning student farmer in the state, providing fresh eggs; romaine lettuce; cherry tomatoes; slicing tomatoes; cucumbers; butternut squash and potatoes. 

Call is still growing produce for the current school year.  He secured his own grant funding to construct a High Tunnel system, which allows for an extended growing season.  He is currently growing romaine lettuce, which will also be purchased by the food service program for use on school salad bars across the district.

Cabell County paid an additional $2,712.50 for 775 dozen ears of corn to the Vocational Agriculture Education/FFA program at Cabell Midland High School.  This crop was grown at the Cabell County Schools Farm in Milton.  That tract of riverside land is owned by businessman Boyd Meadows.  Meadows is allowing Cabell County students to use his farm for their practical agricultural learning experience.

This is the second year that Cabell County had the top-earning student farmers in the state.  Last year, Jonathan Black was the top earner, selling $3630 worth of fresh eggs to the school system.

Statewide, the WV Farm to School Facebook page states, “In less than 75 school days West Virginia schools have purchased more than $500,000 in local foods. Students have produced nearly $43,000 in products that were used in the National School Lunch Program. This is excellent!”

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