Celebrate farms and schools

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Kathie Starkweather (kathies@cfra.org), Center for Rural Affairs

In October, America celebrates the harvest, and specifically initiatives to put healthy, locally grown food on our childrens’ plates at school. And it all starts with America’s farmers and ranchers.

Many of us who raise our own food, whether in a pot or a small garden, do so as a hobby. If there’s too much heat, not enough rain or too many pests, we are disappointed and frustrated but the love of growing fresh, nutritious foods pulls us through tough times.

I know two young women who started a small vegetable farm. They have off-farm jobs as do many farmers and ranchers in rural America. While they are fortunate to have jobs they enjoy, their true passion is growing and providing food. They want children to eat tasty squash, peppers, and carrots. And they want kids to know where their food comes from.

They toil in 100 degree heat. They stoop to pull weeds. They invest in their farm with season-extending hoop houses to provide a few more months of fresh vegetables. It’s hard work, but they think it’s worth it if just one more child can experience the taste of a fresh green bean or learn that asparagus tastes pretty darned good.

Remember the kids and the farmers during this harvest season, and find ways to support Farm to School efforts in your area.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.