Floyd Farm to School is expanding

Farmer Bryan Vest of Old Millstone Farm digs potatoes with 3rd graders from Check Elementary School.
Farmer Bryan Vest of Old Millstone Farm digs potatoes with 3rd graders from Check Elementary School.
Floyd County celebrates Farm to School week this year with all five public schools receiving regular deliveries of fresh food grown by local farmers – including a class of third graders at Check Elementary School.

The program has grown from humble beginnings a few years ago to include an array of community partners, including the Floyd Healthy Community Team, New River Valley Community Services, Plenty!, SustainFloyd, Virginia Cooperative Extension and others.

The first Farm to School project – a potato planting and digging involving local elementary school students – continued this year with 2nd graders from Check Elementary School traveling to Old Millstone Farm to plant Kennebec potatoes earlier this spring. In early October, the same students, now third graders taught by Kimberly Keith and Karen Stump, returned to dig the potatoes and visit the farm’s pigs. Bryan and Lynette Vest – both products of the Floyd County school system – hosted the trip.

“We had a great time and hope this will become an annual event!” said Kimberly Keith.

Additionally, the Vests are participating in an expanded delivery system to school cafeterias. Earlier this spring, the Farm to School program helped provide Indian Valley Elementary School with monthly deliveries of fresh, local vegetables.

Starting this fall, however, all five county schools are receiving regular shipments of fresh Floyd County produce. Potatoes from Old Millstone Farm are delivered to all five county schools once a month, and apples from Wade’s Orchard are delivered to the five schools twice a month. Additionally, lettuce from Black Sheep Farm and spinach from Fertile Crescent Farm will be delivered twice a month to the four elementary schools.

For Farm to School week, Floyd County Schools will also serve hamburger from Old Millstone Farm.

The farms all are required to adhere to the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices and cafeteria managers at each school give regular feedback on produce quality. Additionally, the Farm to School team meets regularly with school officials to handle any issues that may arise and to plan for the future.

To find out more about the Farm to School program and community partnership that helps make it possible, please visit SustainFloyd’s Farm to School page.

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