New Grant Helps Local Students Eat Healthy

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Rural Action has been given a $100,000 Farm to School Support Service Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The money will go toward purchasing local food and equipment to properly prepare and freeze the food to then ship to the schools.

Six schools will benefit from the grant that will help provide local healthy food to students. Tom Redfern, director of Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry for Rural Action, says the six schools include Athens City Schools, Alexander Local Schools, Federal Hocking Local Schools, Marietta City Schools, and they hope to work with Trimble Local schools and Morgan Local Schools.

Redfern says the schools will recieve fresh local foods from local farms prepared and frozen by the Hocking College School of Hospitality.

"Hocking College will use this as a teaching experience for there culinary art students," said Redfern.

Schools place orders to Rural Action, which buys the food from framers and take it to Hocking College where it is then washed, cut, and frozen. The food is then ready to be stored at the local schools until it is heated and served.

Chef Alfonso Contrisciani is the academic dean of the Hospitality Program and a local farmer. The "culinary program aims to teach students how to process, and fabricate fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein," said Contrisciani.

The program which started on the first of this month will run through next year and helps to benefit local farmers, Hocking College, local schools and the students.