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Friday, October 2, 2015

Through Grant, Extension Helps Fresh Connect Food Hub Grow

“What about a food hub?”

This is the question Dana Reith and Melissa Mattson of Lakes County Service Cooperative (LCSC) asked in 2012. Two years later, they had established the Fresh Connect Food Hub in Fergus Falls — an effort that included a 12-week pilot season during which more than 34,000 pounds of produce from nine farms were distributed to 12 school districts, a hospital, and a nursing home in West Central Minnesota. Growers anticipate distributing an even volume of produce by the end of the food hub’s second season later this fall.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Top 5 Ways to Celebrate National Farm to School Month

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

In honor of National Farm to School Month in October, I’d like to suggest five ways to celebrate. Let’s count down, starting with #5!

5. “Like” the National Farm to School Network on Facebook to follow stories about local foods for healthy kids. Did you hear the one about the ugly fish tacos?

4. Join kids and farm to school supporters by crunching into a juicy local apple at noon on October 22. Post your experience on the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch Facebook page or on Twitter with the hashtag #GreatAppleCrunch.

3. Keep an eye on the media for facts about national support for school nutrition and farm to school programs. You can start with this New York Times article, “Poll Finds Most Back Healthy School Meals,” which notes that 90 percent of respondents support more farm to school investments.

2. Use Extension’s Farm to School Toolkit to answer your burning questions about cooking with locally sourced foods. For example, “How can I make something tasty from squash?” Note: The toolkit is aimed at school foodservice staff, but anyone can use it. Just click on the photo of a favorite food for more information, including recipes and menu examples.

And my #1 suggestion for celebrating Farm to School Month (drum roll, please):

1. Visit a local school to have lunch with your favorite student, and enjoy the October bounty. Work up an appetite by checking out the farm to school websites of Dover-Eyota Public Schools and Minneapolis Public Schools.

For more ideas, visit Farm to School Month on the Extension website. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

With a Little Planning, You Can Save Time and Money in the Kitchen

By Mary Schroeder, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

School is back in session! For many families, this means school activities, homework, and more evening commitments. Some families eat more meals away from home or order takeout to save time, but that gets expensive. With a little bit of planning, families can enjoy home-cooked meals that take only a little time to prepare and cost less than restaurant food.

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