Fresh Bites Winter 2021 Edition

COMMITTEES Farm to School

Farm to School Feature

BY CHERYL THAYER & BECKY O’CONNER ON BEHALF OF THE BUFFALO F2S TEAM buffalo farm to school is on the Move! literal and figurative vehicle to address persistent challenges in their own F2S program: forging a deeper connection to the classroom, providing a more effective means to engage the community, and offering a solution to expand the F2S program beyond school lunch. The food truck is serving an important role during the pandemic, which couldn’t have been anticipated during the planning process. “COVID may be keeping our students from coming to school for now, but we are determined to get this Farm to School food truck out on the road to offer our families a hot, nutritious lunch made from local ingredients that our students can

enjoy in the comfort and safety of their homes,” said Food Service Director, Bridget O’Brien Wood. The Farm to School to You food truck visits the district’s grab-and-go meal sites on a rotating basis, and preliminary feedback shows it’s helping to increase participation in the emergency feeding program. When students return to in-person learning, the food truck will serve local lunches and newly developed menus at the district’s 16 high schools on a rotating schedule. Beginning in summer 2021 the food truck will also visit summer meal sites. In addition to increasing access to delicious locally-grown foods, the food truck will appeal to difficult-to-engage high schoolers, and families in the Buffalo community who may not typically take advantage of the free meals offered through the Summer Food Service Program. The food truck will also serve as a learning laboratory, offering experiential learning opportunities that incorporate education on culinary arts, agriculture, nutrition, business development, and marketing. Two new F2S and culinary curricula will be developed for students at Buffalo School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and the Occupational Training Center. “Food trucks have become an integral part of the nation’s culinary fabric and we are excited to be able to offer our students this amazing opportunity. We want to keep our students abreast of the current trends in the culinary industry and this helps to do that. This opportunity combines two of the culinary industry’s hottest movements: food trucks and farm to table. We could not be prouder to be a part of this,” said Katie Schuta, Principal at the Buffalo School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

At the grand opening, families from the Buffalo community received a free hot lunch made with NY grown and raised dairy (Upstate Farms), beef (Empire State Farms & Wardynski’s), beans (Genesee Valley Bean Company), and vegetables (Groundwork Market Garden & Eden Valley Growers), for each child under the age of 18 in their household. The Buffalo F2S team would like to pay special recognition to Julian Montague of Julian Montague Projects, for his beautiful design work and PJ Azzarella of JP Food Trucks, LLC., for his assistance in making this truck a reality. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities, Farm to School is more important now than ever. It is helping our school districts and agricultural organizations, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, to bring farm-fresh, healthy local foods to our schoolchildren and it provides a market for our farmers, who are still struggling with reduced demand and oversupply of product. Buffalo Public Schools and its Farm to School team has done tremendous work educating our young people about New York agriculture and serving delicious, nutritious New York products to our students. We congratulate them on this creative new initiative to expand Farmto School beyond the lunch tray,” said State Agriculture Commissioner, Richard Ball.

The rain ceased, the storm clouds parted, and blue skies prevailed, just as the Buffalo Farm to School Food to You food truck rolled into the parking lot of West Hertel Academy, wafting the aroma of locally sourced, farm fresh food. The Farm to School to You food truck, which took its maiden voyage on October 7th, is the latest addition to the Buffalo Farm to School (F2S) program. The idea to launch a food truck was inspired after Buffalo F2S teammembers dined off one operated by Burlington School District in Burlington, VT. The Buffalo team took note that students were engaged, the community was enthralled, and the food was delicious. They saw the food truck as a

To learn more about the food truck, visit Follow it on Facebook & Twitter @BuffaloF2S

Powered by