Officials meet at SEHS to discuss cooperation agreement with local farmers to feed schoolchildren – Elmore-Autauga News

Jenny Lester Moffitt and Cacyce Davis

By Amanda Pevey

Elmore/Autauga News

Photo above: Local farmers from our area recently met with school and government officials at SEHS.

Last week, local Alabama farmers, heads of state, leaders from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry, and USDA Undersecretary of State for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt met at Stanhope Elmore High School to discuss the new cooperative to discuss consent.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) Collaborative Agreement signed a more than $3.1 million agreement with Alabama to increase the purchase of nutritious, local foods for school lunch programs.

“This collaborative agreement to support schools in Alabama is another example of how the USDA is working to build a more resilient food system that is based on local and regional production,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “The Local Food for Schools Collaborative Program provides states with an opportunity to strengthen relationships between local farmers, ranchers, food companies and schools, and gives students access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live in, creating stronger communities Building links between local communities. When children are nurtured, they can thrive and thrive. If farmers have access to local markets, especially school markets, they can also be successful.”

According to officials, ADAI will use LFS funds to purchase food directly from farmers and have it distributed to collection and storage facilities. In addition, the agency will work with the Alabama State Department of Education to coordinate the distribution of purchased groceries to schools most in need.

Dan Wambles, director of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry, spoke to EAN. “It’s exciting when the farmers see the fruits of their labor and a canteen where their children or grandchildren go. It’s farmers who feed children and it’s a win-win situation.”

The Local Food for Schools collaborative program is one of many ways the USDA is supporting school meal programs for this school year and transforming our food system for years to come.

According to Rick Pate, Alabama Agriculture Commissioner, the first priority is to buy produce from diverse farmers and serve fresh, local foods to Alabama schoolchildren. “We will then target nearly 60 school systems in Alabama that have at least 50 percent of the students who qualify for free and discounted meals.”

According to officials, the LFS Collaboration Agreement will give organizations the flexibility to design food purchasing programs and build partnerships with farmers and ranchers that best meet their local needs, take environmental and climate conditions into account, accommodate seasonal crops, improve supply chain stays and the needs of the schools in their service area.

According to officials, the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program is authorized by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

“It was an exciting day as we announced the formal agreement for the Local Food to School program,” said Deputy Commissioner Hassey Brooks. “We hope this will build on what we have accomplished with the current Farm-to-School program, and we cannot be grateful enough for the collaboration and dedication of Elmore County leaders who have given us to make this day possible.”

“It was exciting to have US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jennifer Moffitt visit our system and give the presentation on the farm-to-school program she was giving at Stanhope Elmore,” said Richard Dennis, Superintendent of Elmore County Public Schools. “The opportunity to further increase the participation of local farmers and their products in our feeding programs for school children is a win-win situation for all parties involved. Elmore County is proud to participate in and lead the program in the state of Alabama. Elmore County CNP Director Cacyce Davis is the person who has been instrumental in the success of this program in our system.”

“This program has been a blessing to our students and our district,” said Cacyce Davis. “The availability of Alabama grown produce to give it access to is just phenomenal. Our students enjoy it, it is a win for us and also for our farmers. Just hope our funding continues and hope to build on that in the future.”

When the students walked in for their Thanksgiving lunch, they were greeted with Smoking S Barbeque smoked turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, Alabama-grown southern peas, mashed potatoes, garden salad, sweet potato casserole, buns, Alabama-grown satsumas, and a caramel Apple tart for dessert.

“Meeting with Undersecretary Moffitt showed that the right people are involved and it’s a win-win,” said Ewell Fuller, principal of Stanhope Elmore High School. “The Farmer-to-School program here at Stanhope Elmore High School is making a tremendous impact, not only on the health and nutrition of our local employees and students, but also supporting our local businesses. One of the missions Mr. Dennis gave me when I first became Principal was to build relationships. This is another form of relationship building, supporting the community and local business owners. At the same time, it’s changing the face of the child feeding program, meaning kids get freshly grown stuff, not canned food. It’s one of those things, it’s a win-win and benefits everyone. I am very proud and want to see it continue to grow and proud to be a big part of it.” SEE GALLERY BELOW FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT.

Wendell Saxon, SEHS Director Ewell Fuller and Dale Bain.