FRANKFORT, Ky. – Schools in eight Kentucky counties will receive face-to-face instruction from chefs to help them serve fresh local foods to their students under two pilot projects led by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Programin partnership with the Community Farm Alliance and the National Farm to School Network.
“School food service workers want to serve healthy, delicious meals to Kentucky children, and these projects will help them do that,” Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said. “These investments will help the next generation of Kentuckians grow up healthy and strong, and they also will teach them to value farmers and local food systems as a way of life.”
Under the Chefs in Schools Collaborative, chefs will educate school food service personnel about incorporating fresh local foods in their menus, knife skills and proper handling of fresh local foods, taste testing with students, introducing local farmers to students to help them understand where their food comes from, recipe and menu development, and supporting local growers as part of rural economic development.
The projects will run from February through May with a two-day training session at the Kentucky School Nutrition Association conference in June in Covington.
The National Farm to School Network will use funding from Seed Change, an 18-month, $1.5 million project funded by The Walmart Foundation, to support the Chefs in Schools Collaborative in Boyle, Clark, Grayson, and Oldham counties. Kentucky was one of three states – along with Louisiana and Pennsylvania – that were awarded grants from Seed Change.
The Community Farm Alliance will use $15,000 from the Central Appalachian Network to conduct the Chefs in Schools Collaborative in Harlan, Martin, Morgan, and Pike counties. The Central Appalachian Network funding was part of a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, Rural Community Development Initiative.