From Farms to School Lunches

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- From farms to schools -- one school district is growing its own veggies.

It's a two-pronged benefit teaching high school students about agriculture while providing fresh produce for school lunches. The bountiful harvest means hard work for many for top notch nutrition.

“Oh it's great, and this is really nice corn,” JoAnn Wetherholt said.

She is one of dozens of Cabell County food service workers wading knee deep through corn. It came from farmland in Milton, grown by students in the Future Farmers of American program at Cabell Midland High School.

“I'm learning the value of hard work and the real time it takes to put in,” said Sierrah Gaddy, a student.

Fellow student Tesla Corns said, “I've learned how to properly grow the crop and how the hard work pays off."

FFA Adviser Brian Clagg said, “I would say the biggest benefit of the farm to schools is the hard work. Most of these kids have a farming background."

Clagg sees many benefits, not only for his students who put in the work to grow the corn, but for the hundreds of students in every Cabell County school who will get to eat the bountiful harvest.

“We don't have to buy the food from somewhere else," Clagg said. "We don't have to ship it in from another state. We know where it came from, what went into it."

Food services has made many changes in the school lunches over the last few years, using less processed food and more fresh ingredients. But, when students pick up this corn off their lunch trays and bite into it in the next few days, they'll realize it doesn't get much fresher than this.

“I think they'll notice and especially the ones that taste it will absolutely know the difference,” said Rhonda McCoy, director of Food Services.

Workers were sorting through two dump-truck loads of corn harvested during the last few days. But, that's only half the crop.

They'll be back out in the field next week harvesting the rest. This is a pilot program in Cabell County that the state hopes to replicate in other districts next year.

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