(KMTR) –Bethel school students got two treats at lunch Wednesday; some fresh corn on the cob, and a visit from Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden visited Clear Lake Elementary to check out a program called “Farm to School.” It’s put on by the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition.
The purpose of the program is the educate students about where their food comes from, and incorporate more locally-grown produce into schools. It also benefits local farms. At Clear Lake, a handful of fifth grade students tend the garden. They will pass over their duties next year, when they change schools.
A comprehensive program includes an introductory lesson where they trace the food they eat, a farm field trip, and garden sessions. Students also get to taste fruits and vegetables from several local farms. Schools which receive the entire comprehensive program include; River Road, Cesar Chavez, Camas Ridge, Fairfield Elementary, and Guy Lee Elementary. Clear Lake does not receive a full program, but they do offer daily garden lessons for students.
In 2010, there was a doubling of Lane County produce sold to Lane County schools. Eugene 4J increased its local food purchases from 1,340 pounds in 2009, to 14,519 pounds in 2010.
Businesses partnering with Bethel include; Detering Orchards, Staterstrum Farms, Thistledown Farm, King Estate, Lochmead Dairy, Carmen’s Tortilla’s, Golden Temple, Red Hat Melons, Hentze Farms, Green Gable Gardens, Creative Growers, Camas Country Mill, and Hey Bales Farm.